Impact Report 2018

Their voice over ours

Our impact 2018

We believe the voices of young cancer patients, and their families, are much more valuable than our own corporate spiel.

So, we asked three of them – Seren, Kaiser and Vicky – to share their stories, and the difference we’ve made to their cancer experience. Scroll your way through them below.

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Seren

“Fighting cancer isn’t just about surviving.”

“I was diagnosed at 19. I thought it was just uni life taking its toll. But it didn’t seem to be getting better, so I went to the doctor for a blood test. Four months after I’d noticed something was wrong, they told me it was cancer. I can’t really remember anything about when I was told I had cancer – it’s like I was in a little bubble. One minute I was normal Seren. Five minutes later, everything changed.

“My CLIC Sargent Social Worker, James, took me, my mum and my dad into a room and talked us through the Personal Independence Payment benefit paperwork. Then he made my mum and dad leave the room and had a chat with me on my own, which I thought was nice, because I was overwhelmed.”

“I don’t think people understand how much it costs, not just to live and have no job when you’re young but also when your family can’t always support you.

“You spend a lot of money. You’re getting buses to hospital, then you’re getting taxis when you’re not well enough to get on a bus – you can’t because of your immune system. I had to get a new bed at home because I only had a single bed and my parents wanted me to have enough room because I was ill. During treatment I lost two stone, so I also needed a new wardrobe because I couldn’t fit in my old clothes. It’s all these things that people don’t think about.”

“I joined CLIC Sargent’s YPRG a year after treatment. I got to meet young people who’d been through similar experiences, and got presenting opportunities which I could put on my CV. None of my friends have had the chance to have that experience or build up their confidence in that way. I did my dissertation about the language people use to talk about their cancer. I don’t think I ever would have done that if I hadn’t been able to turn this into a positive experience because of the support CLIC Sargent has given me.”

Kaiser

“I only had a couple of days until it spread to my heart.”

“My diagnosis came out of the blue. I kept being told it was asthma or eczema. Then they said it was cancer and I only had a couple of days until it spread to my heart. I met my CLIC Sargent social workers Orlando and Sam, and they just made me feel at home.

“While I was on treatment my uncle was also really
ill, he had throat cancer. We lost him one month
after I finished treatment. I was getting loads of
support from Sam and Orlando. My mental state
was horrific. Whenever I used to speak about what
I was going through I’d just break down.

“But thanks to CLIC Sargent’s Young Person’s
Reference Group meeting people in a similar
situation, now I can actually speak in front
of a crowd. I’ve got to the stage where I’m
ready to just go full steam ahead.”

Vicky

“We were just amazed that this support was offered.”

“I didn’t even know kids could get cancer. When we got the results back from the blood test (for Vicky’s baby daughter, Isabel), it was horrendous.

“Isabel began chemotherapy a couple of days later and Becca, our CLIC Sargent Social Worker, was amazing. I don’t know what I would have done without her.”

“When Isabel was receiving regular treatment in Southampton, we stayed at CLIC Haven right next to hospital. We were there for weeks at a time and were just amazed that this support was offered. It felt homely and it gave us a nice and safe place to sleep. We could rest and stay near Isabel, it made such a difference. Without the Home from Home, it would have been a 45-minute drive one way.”

“When the chemo stopped working and Isabel relapsed, we brought her home to begin palliative care. Isabel had a big party for her first birthday with all of our family and friends. She passed away eight days later.

“By this stage I had lost my job because I needed to focus on Isabel and I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after Isabel passed away. It was so hard to get back to work. A lot of parents like us struggle to get life back on track. Becca was there for me through it all. She kept checking up on me.”

Our impact in numbers

7,010
supported children and young people with cancer, and their families
1,213
families welcomed in our Homes from Home
5,303
grants given to help families, totalling over £1 million, when cancer costs
1,400
opportunities for young people and families to get involved in shaping CLIC Sargent’s work
294
individual school healthcare plans to provide a smoother transition back into education
1,288
visits to schools, colleges and universities to deliver care to stop students missing classes

Hands up, we’re not perfect

We’re proud of our achievements. But we didn’t get everything right. There, we said it. We’re telling you because your support keeps the charity running, so you have a right to know. It also helps us improve, and that’s important because young lives are depending on us.

These are the key things we didn’t achieve last year.

Wifi
Children and young people regularly tell us wifi is poor in hospitals. We wanted to do something about it in 2017/18 but it’s proved harder than we thought. We’re working on it.

Diversity
We know the diversity of our staff needs to get better. For example, only 8.2% identify as Black and Minority Ethnic. We’ve started looking at ways to improve diversity throughout our next strategy.

Money
Even though we raised more money than ever before, we didn’t quite reach our income target, which we’re stretching to invest more in services.

And the greatest challenge of all

We currently reach two thirds (69%) of children and young people with cancer in the UK. That’s an achievement in itself because it’s the largest specialist reach from any organisation into this group. But it means there are people – over 1,000 – struggling with the devastating impact of cancer, who may not know we even exist. And that simply isn’t good enough.

So in 2018 we looked ourselves in the mirror and set a challenge to reach every child and young person who needs us and wants our help, without compromising the depth and quality of what we already do.

We have established seven dedicated groups to tackle the problem, from identifying any patterns to who we’re missing and why, developing a service offer for everyone, and working out how best to get the word out that we’re here for every child and young person who needs us.

The work starts now, and we want you to hold us accountable to getting the job done.

Impact Report cover

That’s just a taster

Read our full impact report now

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