This year, we made the extra effort to give families some quality time over Christmas by funding a Christmas party for children at Worcestershire Royal Hospital and Birmingham Children's Hospital. On Tuesday 18th December, staff from both hospitals and CLIC Sargent worked hard to host the special party for children undergoing treatment and their families.
The afternoon was spent playing party games and enjoying a festive feast which included freshly baked mini cupcakes which were donated by Jenny Rudd from Birmingham. Toys and other gifts were given out to the children, including a selection donated by The Hope Hotel in Southend and from Debbie Francis from Sullivan and Cromwell. The Disney Store in Romford donated cuddly Disney characters such a Rapunzel, Nemo, Kermit, Belle, Ariel and Special Agent OSO, which were also given to the children along with selection boxes donated by Emily at the Character Group, Gill Bromley, Sally and Julie Bloe, Laura Hostler and staff at Centralised Legal Aid, Land Commercial, Olga Primary School and Stephanie.
Over half of children with cancer in Worcestershire are diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, the most common type of cancer for children. Treatment for this type of cancer can take two to three years, which impacts significantly on their childhood and family life. Christmas is a time for families to get together and celebrate. But for families with children affected by cancer, things are not so easy and it can feel like life has been turned upside down.
Fran Thompson, Lead Nurse for Children and Young People with cancer said: “Any amount of family time is so important, I’m grateful that we are able to help give these families some quality time and a bit of fun and relief over Christmas. We are so thankful to the charities who have helped us organise and fund the event, they even donated enough money for next year’s Christmas party!”
One of the children attending the party, Jamie Whittenbury, age 8, was very excited to come along to hospital and spend the afternoon with other children and the staff who have treated him over the past few years. Jamie’s mother, Jane said: “Days like this put everything back to normality. It gives kids the chance to be kids, worry free and happy. Jamie is always very excited to come into hospital, mainly due to the fantastic staff. It’s like being part of a big extended family; I don’t know how we would’ve coped without the staff being so supportive. The families often meet up as well, it’s such a great support network we’ve got in Worcestershire."
Mitchell Huth lost his two year battle with Neuroblastoma Stage 4 on Saturday 25th August 2012 at only seven years old.
Just before he was diagnosed Mitchell's parents bought a property in need of complete refurbishment. Shortly after, when Mitchell was diagnosed and sadly, due to the high risk of infection which could be life threatening to Mitchell, he was not able to go home. With Mitchell needing full time care and long hospital stays, their income was dramatically reduced so mum and dad couldn't afford the refurbishments needed. With funds raised by our supporters we refurbished the house so that Mitchell was able to live safely at home with his family.
Mitchell fought hard against the disease and with the help of Lennox and many other organisations, he travelled to Mexico undergo a new pioneering treatment to increase his chances of beating the disease by up to 60%. Mitchell was one of only six children to receive this treatment, which is still unavailable in the UK. He showed a very positive response but sadly this wasn't enough.
We continued to support Mitchell's family after he passed away by providing financial assistance and funding for a headstone.
Christopher is 15 years old and was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour (Medulloblastoma Grade 4) in May 2008.
Since then Christopher has endured 33 sessions of radiotherapy and was left unable to walk or talk. Through sheer courage and determination and against all the odds Christopher is now back up on his feet and recently sat his GCSEs with great results.
Prior to his diagnosis Christopher was an excellent motocross rider with a bright future ahead of him in this extreme sport. He has worked very hard to regain enough strength to be able to ride again and so we've put some money towards the purchase of a brand new bike for him.
Two year old Luca was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia in May 2011. He underwent almost five months of intense chemotherapy treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital which was ultimately unsuccessful, leaving a possible bone marrow transplant as his only hope. If a matching bone marrow donor couldn't be found there would be an 80 per cent chance Luca would die. Luca's mum is from America and his dad is from Turkey, so the chances of finding bone marrow which matched were very slim.”
Amazingly, an international search for bone marrow found an umbilical cord in Spain with cells which partially matched Luca’s. He underwent a further 10 days of intense chemotherapy before the cells were transplanted. Thankfully the transplant was successful and Luca is now in remission.
Right now, there are only matching donors for half the people in desperate need of a lifesaving transplant. Men aged 18-30 are more likely to be chosen to donate, but they currently account for just 12% of donors on the register. That’s why we want more people to come forward and become donors.
Registering is simple. Go online to receive a swab testing kit in the post. You just need to use the swabs enclosed to gather cells from inside your cheek and then send the kit back. The kit is free, but donations are accepted. It takes 10 days to get the kit and then about three weeks for it to be received and the testing to be done. Your details will be entered into the National registry so you will have the option in the future to save someone's life.
Click here to register online for your free swab testing kit today.
Evelyn was born in January 2012 with the umbilical cord wrapped twice around her neck causing suffocation and trauma. This subsequently led to many other complications and Evie was soon diagnosed with severe brain damage, Cerebral Palsy and a movement disorder, as well as Retinoblastoma (cancer) in both eyes for which her tiny body had to undergo six sessions of chemotherapy in the hope of shrinking the tumours. Learning basic life skills including the simple concept of controlled movement will be a huge challenge for Evie and she will continue to require high levels of specialist support for the future. Now that Evie is home, mum, Aimey, is caring for Evie full time, which is no easy task considering that Evie needs such high levels of care and spends most of the day and night crying. Aimey is in desperate need of a Respite Carer to help to look after Evie so we are now fundraising to provide a carer for several days and two nights per week. This will give Aimey a little time to rest each week enabling her to give Evie the extensive care and attention that she constantly needs for the rest of the time.
James was diagnosed with Pituitary Germinoma four years ago at the age of 11 and is still receiving treatment now at the age of 15. The Pituitary Germinoma has caused brain tumours to grow and affect the pituitary gland which produces many essential hormones. This means that along with many other secondary conditions, James will never go through puberty. At present, James is receiving extensive treatment from Great Ormond Street Hospital and Addenbrooke’s Hospital as well as locally. The overwhelming costs of travelling to and from appointments, from where they live in Norfolk, has left the family struggling to keep their heads above water in an already heartbreaking situation. The Lennox is fundraising to provide the family with ongoing financial support so they can concentrate all their time and energy where it is needed most – looking after James and keeping up with his brothers and sisters!
Ted is four years old and just entering the maintenance phase of his treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.
Earlier this year Ted almost lost his life to an aggressive Aspergillus infection which often isn't survived. The medication for this doesn't react well with the chemotherapy either and causes a high risk of muscle and ligament damage. Ted bravely fought through but as a result, he was registered as disabled and over the last five months has learned to crawl, cruise and waddle again.
Ted’s physiotherapist recommended that he rides a bike to get his feet flexing correctly again. The trouble was, most children’s bikes weigh almost as much as Ted does and his muscles are simply not strong enough to ride them. After a little research, Ted’s mum found the ‘Isla Bike’, a specially designed, lightweight bike for children like Ted. Because of Ted’s condition, mum and dad both now work part time and simply couldn't afford to purchase this bike for Ted, so mum sent a heartfelt letter to Vicky Nash here at Lennox and we gladly purchased Ted his new bike. Now there’s no stopping him, literally!
Alec was nine years old and had a tumour on his brain stem (pontine). His treatment regime finished at the end of November 2010 and all was looking well until in February 2011, Alec was admitted to hospital. Two days later he was moved to Helen House Children’s Hospice where he was made comfortable, and on Tuesday 8th March 2011 he passed away.
Before Alec went into hospital, we put a big smile on his face when Lisa Sherrin and some of our fundraising team visited Alec at home for the official opening of what he called ‘Alec’s Pad’. It was a wonderful day and Alec and all his family and friends were so grateful.
We also funded a Halloween party for Alec and all his friends and family, and supported his parents both emotionally and financially during Alec's journey.
Thank you to everyone who helped us to fundraise and make Alec's dreams to come true.
Demi is turning eight in February and for six years has been in and out of treatment for Retinoblastoma, which is cancer of the eye. Unfortunately during her fight, Demi lost her right eye leaving her nearly blind as she had such little vision left in her other eye. Sadly, Demi's cancer has returned in her remaining eye and the traumatic journey has started all over again. Last time, thanks to your help, we supported Demi and her family with travel costs to and from hospital, winter bills and even some extra special treats in Christmas 2011.
Once again, the overwhelming cost of travel from where they live to the Royal London Hospital has become to much for them to cope with on their own so we're supporting them once again by paying for the travel costs to and from hospital. Demi's tough jouney has taken it's toll but the family's spirits have remained high and they are feeling positive about the future.
As a little bonus gift for Christmas 2011, we donated five Liberty Shopping Centre gift vouchers worth £50 each to children at Queen's Hospital. This will enable the parents to make sure their children still have an extra special Christmas while in hospital this year. Some recipients of the vouchers are pictured. On the left is Sophie and her mum, top right is four year old Aiden and his mum, and bottom right is little Ava with her shopping voucher.
Noah was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia in 2009 and sadly in January 2010 he relapsed. At only two years old, Noah underwent a Stem Cell Transplant in March, but sadly the treatment was not successful and he is now receiving palliative care. He has two brothers and two sisters : Zack aged eight, Jess aged six, Sam aged five, and Matilda who is only 10 months. Because of Noah’s illness his family will not able to travel very far and will spend most of their time at home, we hope to raise enough money to purchase some big garden toys (i.e. a trampoline) for all the family to enjoy the time they have with Noah at home
Two year old Emma is from Birmingham and was diagnosed with Pilocytic Astrocytoma (a brain tumour) in January 2010 when she was only a year old. Since then she has been on many different medications and bravely fought through 18 months of chemotherapy.
Like any other two year old, Emma gets very bored and frustrated during hospital stays which can make treatment even more tedious, so we purchased Emma and her family a new laptop. Now she can take this to hospital with her to keep occupied with lots of her favourite films and CBeebies iPlayer! It will also allow Emma’s parents to keep friends and family up to date on her condition
At just six months old, Angela’s body had had to endure more than most people do in a lifetime. She was receiving treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital for a tumour on her liver and further health complications cause by Beckwith Syndrome.
As anyone can imagine, seeing their baby going through this put the family under immense stress, so we did everything we could to support the family financially through such a difficult time and allowed them to focus their full attention where it was most needed, on Angela!
This is Jack who, at seven years old, was fighting a rare cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma (a tumor in his tummy).
Since being diagnosed in April 2009 he received intense chemotherapy and underwent surgery.
Little Jack continued receiving this treatment until March 2010 and by which time we had raised enough funds to send him on a well deserved holiday with the whole family, including nan and grandad!
In addition, we bought Jack a brand new bike as an extra special surprise Christmas present!
During her treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL), four year old Scarlett had to overcome many set backs including three superbugs and an infection that left her on a life support machine for five days.
Scarlett finally started responding to her treatment plan and in 2008 she was finally well enough to travel all the way to Disneyland in Paris to meet her hero, Mickey Mouse, and all his friends! Scarlett went on the Eurostar with mum and dad and stayed in a luxury Disneyland hotel, all thanks to the Lennox and the supporters who work so hard all year round to ensure that we can keep making a positive difference to children like Scarlett.
Cameron is two years old and has a condition called Neuroblastoma, Grade Four which has caused him to be paralysed from his waist down. After weeks of fundraising, we planned to send Cameron on a special holiday to the New Forest where he could spend some vital quality time with his parents, older brother and younger sister, in-between hospital appointments. Unfortunately, just before his holiday was booked, the family’s circumstances changed and they were unable to get to the south coast. We still wanted to do something special for little Cameron, so in August this year we paid for the whole family to stay in a top class Hilton Hotel for two nights and spend a day at Legoland, Windsor! We’re told that Cameron had an amazing time and the photos mum sent us certainly show it...