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Fight Club

Summer 2020

Paula and Heidi’s story

“As a parent, the news that your two-year-old has cancer is devastating. Heidi was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in September 2015 and just like that, we found ourselves in the scary world of cancer.

“From day one CLIC Sargent ‘scooped us up’ and stopped us feeling lost and alone. Our social worker Diane steered us through the medical haze, work pressures and life juggles.

“She made sure our lives didn’t just revolve around cancer and arranged fun days out and opportunities to meet other families in the same situation. Diane helped keep Heidi’s childhood alive.

“Heidi’s treatment ended in 2018, but we’re still involved with CLIC Sargent. We help them develop the amazing services they offer and I volunteer whenever I can.”

Heidi says: “CLIC Sargent helped me get used to having my treatment and they made me happy when I went home after being in hospital for a long time.”

“We both want to say a massive thank you for all your amazing and generous support, which continues to help families like ours every single day. Reading the stories in this magazine just shows how important you are. ”

Heidi was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in September 2015
Heidi was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in September 2015

You make change happen

As a CLIC Sargent campaigner, you challenge others to get the best for young cancer patients and their families. An example of how you make change happen is the creation of the Children’s Funeral Fund (CFF).

Interested in using your voice to make more change happen? Check out our campaigning page!

You make change happen

As a CLIC Sargent campaigner, you challenge others to get the best for young cancer patients and their families. An example of how you make change happen is the creation of the Children’s Funeral Fund (CFF).

Interested in using your voice to make more change happen? Check out our campaigning page!

Behind the scenes

For this year’s World Cancer Day campaign, we called in the big guns – the young people you help – and asked them to come up with a campaign that really reflects what it’s like having cancer when you’re young.

Sara, who you supported through a brain tumour, went for it:

“It was really interesting to see the process of coming up with campaign ideas, and throwing in some of my own. One of the best parts was sharing part of my journey – we were talking about what happens when the doctor says ‘it’s cancer’, and I said that, to me, it felt like my life was paused. We looked at incorporating that into the campaign, and it ended up being the main theme!

“I also really enjoyed helping to shape the campaign videos and ideas. It was amazing to have so much input and feel like my opinion mattered and was taken into consideration.”

The result: the most successful World Cancer Day campaign to date. Thousands of you wore our Bands Against Cancer, and over 800 of you volunteered to support our charity partner Morrisons with 300 bucket collections across the UK.

Behind the scenes

For this year’s World Cancer Day campaign, we called in the big guns – the young people you help – and asked them to come up with a campaign that really reflects what it’s like having cancer when you’re young.

Sara, who you supported through a brain tumour, went for it:

“It was really interesting to see the process of coming up with campaign ideas, and throwing in some of my own. One of the best parts was sharing part of my journey – we were talking about what happens when the doctor says ‘it’s cancer’, and I said that, to me, it felt like my life was paused. We looked at incorporating that into the campaign, and it ended up being the main theme!

“I also really enjoyed helping to shape the campaign videos and ideas. It was amazing to have so much input and feel like my opinion mattered and was taken into consideration.”

The result: the most successful World Cancer Day campaign to date. Thousands of you wore our Bands Against Cancer, and over 800 of you volunteered to support our charity partner Morrisons with 300 bucket collections across the UK.

Keeping our doors open

Cancer treatment is often provided in a specialist centre which can be a long way from home, making it harder and more expensive for families to be together during treatment. But thanks to amazing people like you, our free Homes from Home are lifelines for families, where they can stay together while their child is in hospital.

We’re working hard with our NHS colleagues to keep them open, and to make them safe for the families staying there. Ann, manager of our two Bristol Homes from Home, talks about her role and how she’s had to adapt during the coronavirus pandemic:

“In my Homes, we can normally accommodate up to 31 families. Because of coronavirus, we currently only have 15 families staying with us.

Since the start of the outbreak, I have been working alongside the NHS more than ever. There’s lots of paperwork to be filled in and signed off before a family can even come stay. Due to social distancing, we’re having to turn some families away which is really heart-breaking.

We’re doing everything we can to keep our Homes open, so families with children on treatment can still stay together. Our standards of cleaning are even higher than normal: we’re doing extra deep cleans, extra work-surface cleaning and hand-washing constantly to keep
the spaces safe.

I’ve worked here for ten years and I’ve never felt such fear among the people we care most about. Our Homes are normally busy, happy places but now there’s not even the sound of laughter, like there would normally be. Families do understand and appreciate the extra measures we’re taking. They know we’re striving to give them the best support we can at this time.

The thing that destroys me the most is no hugging, but I am trying to stay positive. I know we can’t be there for everyone right now, but we are doing whatever we can to support those families who come through our doors.

Keeping our doors open

Cancer treatment is often provided in a specialist centre which can be a long way from home, making it harder and more expensive for families to be together during treatment. But thanks to amazing people like you, our free Homes from Home are lifelines for families, where they can stay together while their child is in hospital.

We’re working hard with our NHS colleagues to keep them open, and to make them safe for the families staying there. Ann, manager of our two Bristol Homes from Home, talks about her role and how she’s had to adapt during the coronavirus pandemic:

“In my Homes, we can normally accommodate up to 31 families. Because of coronavirus, we currently only have 15 families staying with us.

Since the start of the outbreak, I have been working alongside the NHS more than ever. There’s lots of paperwork to be filled in and signed off before a family can even come stay. Due to social distancing, we’re having to turn some families away which is really heart-breaking.

We’re doing everything we can to keep our Homes open, so families with children on treatment can still stay together. Our standards of cleaning are even higher than normal: we’re doing extra deep cleans, extra work-surface cleaning and hand-washing constantly to keep
the spaces safe.

I’ve worked here for ten years and I’ve never felt such fear among the people we care most about. Our Homes are normally busy, happy places but now there’s not even the sound of laughter, like there would normally be. Families do understand and appreciate the extra measures we’re taking. They know we’re striving to give them the best support we can at this time.

The thing that destroys me the most is no hugging, but I am trying to stay positive. I know we can’t be there for everyone right now, but we are doing whatever we can to support those families who come through our doors.

Never more needed

Why? Because even before the coronavirus pandemic, life in the UK was getting harder, with more families struggling to cope. 4.1 million children were living in poverty, a rise of 500,000 in five years. Up to 8.3 million people were unable to pay off debts or household bills, and suicide was the biggest killer of 15 to 34-year-olds. Then coronavirus hit.

And on top of all that there’s cancer. One in 180 people diagnosed with cancer will be under the age of 25. This means childhood cancer is no longer classed as a rare disease. Emotionally, physically and financially devastating, a cancer diagnosis often brings families to breaking point, especially now.

Thanks to you, thousands of children and young people with cancer, and their families, can continue to get the support they need. But there’s more work to do – now more than ever.

We’ve listened to supporters, staff, young cancer patients and their families, and have come up with a plan to have the biggest impact over the next five years. The events of 2020 will make this harder, and right now we are fighting to keep critical services running. But this plan has never been more needed.

It’s a commitment to:

Be there for anyone who needs us

Currently, around 900 children and young people under 25 struggle with a cancer diagnosis without the age-specialist support they need. We’re uneasy knowing that some children and young people go through cancer without our support, and we think you feel the same.

Target specialist support at those who need it the most

We want children and young people with cancer, and families, to know exactly what support they can get from CLIC Sargent, and to make sure those in the greatest need get the most support.

Build a more sustainable organisation

We’re working in uncertain times, so we need to make sure we’re doing the absolute best with what we have, so we can deliver maximum reach and impact.

Achieving this was never going to be easy, and coronavirus has made it even harder. But we’re determined to make it happen, and we’re grateful for having powerful allies in this fight – you.

Together, Team Young Lives can continue its mission to be here for every young person with cancer who needs us.

Marathon Meg

Meg has been fundraising for us for five years, after an old school friend passed away from testicular cancer when he was 21.

“Every year I do an annual radio marathon fundraiser for CLIC Sargent, as well as various endurance events. Coronavirus has changed this, but it’s been fun finding innovative ways to fundraise in lockdown. So far, I’ve run a marathon in my garden while live radio presenting for 26.2 hours, and I’m currently running a virtual quiz every fortnight.

“The radio marathons are a great way to connect with people, especially now when many are separated from friends and family. I give people shout-outs or play song requests for their loved ones.

“On London Marathon weekend, I ran a garden marathon along side the radio show. So many listeners messaged in saying they’d been inspired to put on their running shoes and fundraise! One even strapped herself to her husband for a three-legged race.

“And everyone loves a quiz, don’t they?

“My advice to anyone setting up their own virtual fundraising is to just go for it, and to remember the reason you’re doing it. If your idea seems silly, then definitely do it – the sillier the better!

“Don’t worry about it being perfect, how much you’ll raise or how many people will support it. You’re using your time and energy to contribute to an incredible cause and if even one person donates, then that’s one extra champion.”

Want to try your hand at virtual fundraising? There are lots of ways you can help fight for young lives against cancer.

Marathon Meg

Meg has been fundraising for us for five years, after an old school friend passed away from testicular cancer when he was 21.

“Every year I do an annual radio marathon fundraiser for CLIC Sargent, as well as various endurance events. Coronavirus has changed this, but it’s been fun finding innovative ways to fundraise in lockdown. So far, I’ve run a marathon in my garden while live radio presenting for 26.2 hours, and I’m currently running a virtual quiz every fortnight.

“The radio marathons are a great way to connect with people, especially now when many are separated from friends and family. I give people shout-outs or play song requests for their loved ones.

“On London Marathon weekend, I ran a garden marathon along side the radio show. So many listeners messaged in saying they’d been inspired to put on their running shoes and fundraise! One even strapped herself to her husband for a three-legged race.

“And everyone loves a quiz, don’t they?

“My advice to anyone setting up their own virtual fundraising is to just go for it, and to remember the reason you’re doing it. If your idea seems silly, then definitely do it – the sillier the better!

“Don’t worry about it being perfect, how much you’ll raise or how many people will support it. You’re using your time and energy to contribute to an incredible cause and if even one person donates, then that’s one extra champion.”

Want to try your hand at virtual fundraising? There are lots of ways you can help fight for young lives against cancer.

(Virtual) high five!

No doubt about it, our supporters (you!) are legends. The last few months have been incredibly hard for young cancer patients and their families. You’ve stood by them with your generous support. This is what you made possible during the first three months of the pandemic:

1,300

nights spent by families in our Homes from Home each month (on average), enabling them to stay together during the crisis.

£63,000

in hardship grants given out to families in crisis struggling to afford essentials like food or paying bills.

147%

increase in the number of online chats our social workers have had with families finding themselves navigating a pandemic on top of childhood cancer.

Restrictions are easing but for young people with cancer, life is only getting harder. You can make sure they’re not left to face it alone.

Join our fightDonate