Pantomime visit

Earlier this week Michelle Heaton, Liberty X singer, brought all the fun of the pantomime to children with cancer who are being treated at the Great North Children's Hospital in Newcastle as part of the Sun newspaper's Smiles at Christmas appeal for CLIC Sargent.

Pantomime visit

Michelle is currently starring as the Wicked Queen in Snow White at the Tyne Theatre in the city.  She arrived in full costume with the cast, which included Britain's Got Talent (BGT) Winner Matt Pagan 'The Prince', and impressionist and BGT finalist Danny Poshill, who came as 'Dame Dotty Donut.'  

Michelle, who gave out Christmas-themed chocolates and sweets on the ward with her pantomime co-stars, said: “It breaks my heart to see these kids being treated for cancer when they are so young.

“The youngest I’ve met today is a tiny baby with a brain tumour.

“I’ve also met children the same age as my own – and it is awful to think they have such a horrible disease.

“No child should get cancer. But that’s why it is vital we give as much as we can to support them this Christmas.”

CLIC Sargent support

Michelle also met CLIC Sargent's Gary McCoy and learnt more about how CLIC Sargent's care team work alongside hospital staff to provide essential emotional, practical and financial support to young cancer patients and their families.  

Since 2005, CLIC Sargent’s Newcastle team has supported 2,030 children and young people with cancer and their families.  

They check in with children and parents they support regularly and chat to them about how they are feeling and to see if they need any help with anything - or simply need somebody to talk to.  

Cancer costs

Every family who accepts help from CLIC Sargent receives a grant of £170 to help them cope with the immediate extra costs that they have as a result of their child being admitted to hospital.

According to CLIC Sargent research,  on average a parent who has a child on active cancer treatment faces additional living expenses of £600 a month.  Three in five parents accumulate some form of debt as a result of their child’s illness, with one in six of those having borrowed more than £5,000.

Social Workers arrange grants and advocate for them to help them get the benefits and other support they’re entitled to. Last year CLIC Sargent's Newcastle team supported 401 children and young and awarded £52,804 in grants. 

Social Workers also help children stay in education by talking to their schools and teachers so that when they are well enough they can get the right support when they return to class in-between or after treatment. 

Support this Christmas

11 children are diagnosed with cancer every day in the UK.

And, this festive season alone, CLIC Sargent are helping 3,800 families affected by the disease.