Children supported by young people’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent were treated to a festive visit from children’s TV presenter Ben Cajee last week (14 December).
During the visit Ben met patients and their families on the oncology ward at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. Here he read a number of stories to the excited children and their parents, and one of the children Victoria Calland, four, from Wigan, insisted on turning the pages of the book before inviting Ben to join her in ringing the bell to mark the end of her treatment.
Ben’s visit was arranged by UK cancer support charity CLIC Sargent’s Social Work Team, which has a base at Manchester Children’s Hospital working hard to reduce the impact of cancer on the lives of young patients and their families by providing emotional and financial support.
Ben was so impressed with the children and CLIC Sargent staff that he met on his visit to ward 84 that he has now volunteered to become an official ambassador for the charity.
Jennifer Calland, Victoria’s mum, said: “Victoria recognised Ben from the TV and was really excited to meet him and it was great to see her finally ring that end of treatment bell, it was a special day.
“Afterwards we watched his show and she said - ‘look there’s Ben’!”
Victoria first became unwell in April. Initially doctors thought she had a cyst on her liver, but during surgery at hospital in Leeds to remove it, it was found to be a rare soft tissue cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma.
Victoria was transferred to Manchester Children’s Hospital for chemotherapy where CLIC Sargent Social Worker Saiorse Currie provides her and her family with support. For example Saiorse arranged a financial grant to help the family cover extra living expenses when they had to go abroad for 10 weeks for Victoria’s proton beam therapy.
Ben Cajee, Children's TV Presenter, said: "I had a brilliant time visiting Manchester Children's Hospital with CLIC Sargent. It was amazing to spend time with families, the wonderful hospital staff and of course, the kids.
"I loved hanging out with them for a few hours! We read stories, talked about their favourite TV shows and their football teams. It's fair to say that they mocked me for being a West Ham fan!
"I'm really looking forward to working closely with CLIC Sargent as an ambassador and hope that together we can raise awareness about their brilliant work and the inspiring kids that they support."
Josanne Grimshaw, Paediatric Social Worker, CLIC Sargent said: “We’re really pleased that Ben could take the time to visit us, the children were so excited to meet him as they recognised him from the TV, and it made such a difference to what would otherwise have been a difficult day away from home for them. He was lovely with the children and spent a long time speaking with them all.
“It’s fantastic that Ben has joined team CLIC Sargent on the back of the visit and we look forward to welcoming him to the hospital again soon.”
This January Morrisons’ employees across the country are being asked to vote for their new charity partner, worth up to £7 million for the winning charity. To find out more about cancer support charity CLIC Sargent’s bid to win, and how you can support it, visit: www.clicsargent.org.uk/morrisons
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