‘We’ve Got Your Back’: The Lennox Children’s Cancer Fund
W Bro Mark Russell reports
Every year 1,800 children are diagnosed as suffering from some type of cancer. Even if you haven’t experienced it yourself, it is not difficult to imagine the emotional devastation and turmoil a parent must feel when receiving the news that their child is suffering from such a serious illness.
This is quickly followed by the discovery that supporting your child through treatment brings other practical difficulties and financial implications.
For more than 30 years the Lennox Children’s Cancer Fund has worked to support children and their families experiencing the distress and heartache of a childhood cancer diagnosis.
Lindsey Bidwell, the Relations & Partnership Manager for the charity says “When a child is suspected of, or diagnosed with, cancer they are whisked off to a Principal Treatment Centre to start immediate testing and treatment. They are often many miles away from home, leaving parents with no time to gather essential supplies”.
Working with children and parents who have been affected by childhood cancer the Lennox Children’s Cancer Fund has designed a care package aimed at saving parents time, money and worry by providing essential supplies in those first traumatic days.
The package is called “We’ve got your back” and comes in the form of a back-pack containing, amongst other items: fluffy socks for both parents and child to combat cold feet; a fluffy blanket to give some comfort and warmth; children’s gloves to keep the child’s hands warm (because a common side effect of chemotherapy is the patient feeling cold); a universal phone charger; a metal water bottle to keep water cool; a travel thermos cup for the parents; toiletries; a neck pillow; ear plugs and eye masks for parents, who will often be disturbed at night with medical staff coming in and out of the treatment room; and an activity pack to help the child during long periods of inactivity.
Each back-pack costs £100 to produce and the Charity approached the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) for a grant to enable them to provide three London hospitals, Great Ormond Street, University College of London, and The Royal Marsden, with a supply of back-packs.
The MCF was pleased to provide a grant of £10,000 that would enable the Fund to provide back-packs to each unit for approximately six months. Each back-pack will have “Kindly Sponsored by the London Freemasons” printed on it.
One mother says “With so many essentials needed for the intense first few months of treatment, it’s very unpredictable so it’s great to have a bag ready to go. He absolutely loved receiving this parcel and was excited to explore the contents. Whenever he is chilly, he uses the socks and heat toy and has the bag packed ready for the unexpected hospital visits”.
Another father adds “We were distraught. The blanket kept our boy warm after he was sick on his own one and the activities helped keep him occupied whilst in hospital. The book inside has helped me write down my feelings, as I struggle to express to others how I’m feeling and must be strong for my boy”.
For more information please visit www.lennoxccf.org.uk