A five-year-old girl with cancer can play in her garden for the first time after months in hospital thanks to some green-fingered volunteers.
Ciana’s family, from Surbiton, now have a beautiful garden after it was transformed by staff from Norwegian Cruise Line. The firm, which raises funds for CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading children and young people’s cancer charity, offered to help the family with gardening after being introduced by the charity.
The Hammersmith-based cruise company donated money for the makeover, while staff cleared rubbish and weeds, mowed the lawn and planted shrubs and plants at Ciana’s home in Long Ditton last week.
Ciana, who has a three-year-old sister, Lexi, was diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia two years ago.
Her mother Fiona said: “I can’t believe the difference it has made. When we first moved in, the garden was full of rubbish and weeds and too dangerous for Ciana and Lexi to play in. Now the rubbish has been cleared, we have some beautiful plants and they’ve put a trampoline in it. I am really happy with it.”
Ciana is just finishing her treatment at the Royal Marsden in Sutton, Surrey. Fiona said: “We spent four months in hospital, including a long time in isolation, which was very difficult.
“Ciana has had a stem cell transplant and chemotherapy, and we had to go back into the hospital for about three months because of infections.
“My CLIC Sargent social worker Lara checks on me regularly to see how we are getting on, and how I am coping,” Fiona added.
CLIC Sargent provided emotional, practical and financial help for Fiona and Ciana and her family. “I try to be strong and I feel lucky that I have still got her,” said Fiona. “There is a lot of support out there, and a lot of people who have gone through it.
“I want to raise awareness of blood cancers among parents and encourage them to investigate anything unusual, because if the cancer is left it becomes harder to treat.”
Francis Riley, Vice President & General Manager International, Norwegian Cruise Line said: “They were a fantastic two days for everyone involved, as we could see just how much difference we were making for the girls. Norwegian Cruise Line is committed to helping those who are in need of additional assistance, from large scale fundraising projects to small ones that can have such a huge impact and make a real difference. What is impressive is that the whole Norwegian team played a part in one shape or another in bringing this project alive.”
CLIC Sargent Fundraising Manager Nicola White said: “We are really pleased that Ciana and her family are going to have a lovely new-look garden. It really makes a difference to people to be able to relax together in a pleasant outside space. It is hard to find the space to sort out these things when you are coping with cancer.”