Cancer survivor Lucien Knowles,3, from Rotherham, and Amber Whiston,7, from Sheffield, who has a brain tumour, are celebrating after helping to win an incredible £7 million for CLIC Sargent, the UK cancer support charity for children and young people that’s helped them and their families through their hardest times.
CLIC Sargent faced strong competition from Age UK in the supermarket’s colleague ballot for its new charity partner last month, but it was announced earlier this week (8 Feb) that CLIC Sargent had won.
As part of the campaign, Lucien’s photo and his family’s story about how CLIC Sargent helped them during his treatment were on hundreds of posters put up by an army of volunteers across Yorkshire.
His mum Stacie Knowles also wrote to her local store in Rotherham to explain how voting for CLIC Sargent could make a difference.
Amber and her family starred in a moving online film for the campaign where they talked about what life has been like since she was diagnosed with a brain tumour at 8-months-old, her ongoing treatment, and support from CLIC Sargent. It has been watched over 60k times on the charity’s Facebook page.
Lara Whiston, Amber’s mum, said:
“We did it! It means a lot to see so much love coming from the Morrisons team for families like ours.
“2017 got off to a crazy start for us. In January Amber was on the operating table having 9 hours of surgery on her brain, her tumour was growing and needed attention fast.
“CLIC Sargent were once again the glue holding us together during what was a really scary time.
“Amber’s healing well and we’re all so proud to have been a part of this campaign. Its lovely to think that now, thanks to Morrisons, the funding will be there to help more families like ours in the future.”
Lucien was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma – a cancerous tumour - in May 2015 and faced intensive treatment including operations, nine courses of intensive chemotherapy and 23 sessions of radiotherapy. The CLIC Sargent team helped the family cope with the financial impact of cancer on their lives, and offered emotional support throughout.
Stacie Knowles, Lucien's mum, said:
“It is fantastic news! Lucien had his last dose of chemo in November, and having been through it we know how important it is get the support you need.
“It is good to know that thanks to Morrisons, if God forbid Lucien was to relapse, that CLIC Sargent would be able to help us again.
“Without CLIC Sargent’s support I don’t know how we would have coped, and no family should have to go through the trauma of having a child with cancer without them.”
CLIC Sargent plans to use this new funding, set to be raised by Morrisons colleagues and customers over the next three years, to increase the amount of financial support it provides to young people and families who are struggling with the extra living expenses a cancer diagnosis brings, like long-distance travel for specialist treatment.
Recent CLIC Sargent research has shown that on average parents face extra living expenses of £600 a month when their child is on treatment, with the biggest increased costs found to be travel expenses and hospital parking fees, forcing many into debt.
Last year in Yorkshire CLIC Sargent supported 380 children and young people with cancer and their families in Yorkshire and the Humber, and awarded £56,000 to families in need to help them meet the extra costs of cancer treatment.
The UK-wide charity will also use the Morrisons funds to expand its specialist nursing programme, which maximises the amount of time that young people can spend safely at home, and invest in other essential projects that will reduce the devastating impact of cancer on young lives.
Kate Lee, CEO, CLIC Sargent said:
“Thousands of people across the UK like the Whistons and Knowles families got involved in our campaign - and without them our win simply wouldn’t have happened.
"Our nurses, social workers and other frontline staff across the UK work tirelessly to limit the damage cancer causes beyond a child or young person's health.
“Now together with Morrisons colleagues, we’ll be able to stop cancer destroying more young lives than ever.
CLIC Sargent’s health and social care professionals include social workers, nurses and play specialists. Its care teams in Yorkshire and the Humber work at Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s University Hospital in Leeds, Sheffield Children’s Hospital, and Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield.
For more information, an interview or images please contact Claire Monger on 020 8752 2938 or email firstname.lastname@example.org