Just as CLIC Sargent has recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, it is also 10 years since the name Cornish Pirates was adopted for Penzance and Newlyn RFC’s senior team, who will be supporting CLIC Sargent for their 2015/16 season.
The players were shocked to learn that 10 children and young people are diagnosed with cancer every day, and ahead of the official launch for fundraising efforts to begin, players were this week touched when they met service user Olly McKay and his family.
Four-year-old Olly, from Plymouth, was 16 months old when he was diagnosed with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma in November 2012. The diagnosis came as a huge shock to Olly’s mum and dad.
The family spent months in Bristol and it was there that CLIC Sargent offered the family support, which included free self-catering accommodation in our Home from Homes in Bristol.
Olly’s mum Emma said: “We were still in shock from being told that our baby needed an operation so not having to worry about finding somewhere to stay was a huge help.
“It made a huge difference to us being able to have other family members there too; not only were we able to grab valuable time together away from the ward knowing that Olly was being looked after by family, but it also helped having people there when trying to process the huge volume of information we were being given about Olly's diagnosis and treatment plan.”
The Cornish Pirates hope to visit CLIC Sargent’s Bristol-based Home from Homes, CLIC House and Sam’s House, in the New Year to see first hand how vital the resource is for those families from Cornwall and Devon.
Olly and his family also received support from a local CLIC Sargent Nurse, Petra Russell, and a local CLIC Sargent Social Worker, Jo Annand.
Emma continued: “Petra in particular became like one of the family as she used to visit on a weekly basis to take Olly's bloods and flush his Hickman line when we weren't in hospital, and Jo has been there to support us with paperwork we have needed to complete and even visited us at hospital in Bristol which really cheered us all up!”
Olly is now one year post-treatment and attends regular follow-up appointments at Derriford Hospital.
Emma added: “Olly has no fear of returning to CLIC House or the hospital which says a lot about his memories of his time there.
CLIC Sargent enabled us to stay together as a family during Olly's treatment.
"The charity also helped us to keep life as normal as possible for our son."
An exciting partnership
This year The Cornish Pirates hope to help CLIC Sargent continue to strive for its vision to see a world where every child and young person with cancer can live life to the full.
Will Graulich, Cornish Pirates lock, said: “We are really excited to be supporting such a good cause and hope all of our fans will get behind us to make a difference to those families facing a childhood cancer diagnosis.”
The Cornish pirates will be organising a variety of fundraising events for CLIC Sargent that will be announced on the club’s website.