EVERY DAY in the UK, ten youngsters are told they have cancer. The effects can be devastating, as the diagnosis threatens everything.
At a time when they should be busy being children, enjoying their rollercoaster teenage years or finding their feet at university, life instead becomes full of fear. It can often feel like those diagnosed – and their families – have nowhere to turn, and no one to talk to, their mental health stretched to breaking point.
Young Lives vs Cancer is the UK’s leading charity for children, young people (anyone up to 25 years old) and their families, helping them find the strength to face whatever cancer throws at them. And during the past 18 months, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, that help is needed more urgently than ever.
From essential social worker support to funding its Homes from Home free accommodation scheme, the charity is focused on helping families at a time when they need it most.
Thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, a whopping £11,635,907 has been raised for young cancer patients since 2016. These funds have helped pay for 136 of the charity’s specialist social workers to provide 43,480 hours of crucial support to families across the UK.
Social workers stay by the side of young cancer patients and their families throughout their journey, helping them while they face the unimaginable. That could mean showing mums and dads how to access grants if they’re struggling financially, or working with teachers to support a young person in finishing their education.
It could even mean ensuring families are able to travel to hospital for lifesaving treatment. And if the unthinkable happens, social workers are there to help guide parents and families through bereavement too.
There are just 21 specialist cancer centres for young people in the UK and Ireland. This means huge numbers of families face regular, gruelling journeys of 60 miles or more, often three or four times a week, for their child to receive the treatment they need.
This is why funds from People’s Postcode Lottery go towards the charity’s Homes from Home scheme. Ten of these homes have now been set up across the UK, next door to specialist hospitals, and 13,514 nights staying in them have already been paid for.
Providing comfortable accommodation with family-sized rooms for free, they’re a lifeline for many families and mean young people don’t have to be separated from loved ones while undergoing treatment.
Mum Amira Baliram from Enfield experienced the support of Young Lives vs Cancer when her daughter Sumayyah was diagnosed with cancer.
“In 2018, my daughter Sumayyah was diagnosed with leukaemia when she was 19 months old. Her cancer returned in the summer of 2019 and she needed a stem cell transplant, which left her suffering from awful side-effects.
“As the country went into lockdown, I found her lying unresponsive in bed after having a seizure. It meant we had to go into hospital again for three months, with no visitors. During that time, I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“The support I received from both our Young Lives vs Cancer social worker, Adama, and a psychologist was amazing. It really helped get me through an incredibly difficult time.”
Want to help support young people and children at a time when they need it most? Playing People’s Postcode Lottery and raising funds for Young Lives vs Cancer could help somebody through their darkest days. Sign up to play at postcodelottery.co.uk
People’s Postcode Lottery manages lotteries on behalf of good causes who receive a minimum of 33 per cent of each ticket sale.
Young Lives vs Cancer is an operating name of CLIC Sargent Cancer Care for Children, a charity registered in England and Wales (1107328) and in Scotland (SC039857). Funding awarded by Postcode Children Trust, a registered Scottish charity (SC044773).