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Fight Club

September 2021

Meet Jack.

AKA Young Lives vs Cancer Legend.

Allow us to introduce your latest guest editor, fundraiser and all-round Young Lives vs Cancer legend, Jack…

Hi, my name’s Jack and I’m 12. I love trains, Morrisons and making new friends.

I was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the back of my eyes when I was four months old and I now have very poor eyesight. I’m on my seventh round of chemotherapy but I’m very happy and think I’m really lucky. I get to do lots of special things through my fundraising like working at Morrisons every Wednesday and meeting with the big bosses. Morrisons are partners with Young Lives vs Cancer. They are great and raise lots of money to help families like mine.

I love raising money for charity and I’ve raised nearly £120,000! I want to raise lots more because Young Lives vs Cancer and supporters like you have always been there for me and my family. I want to help children who are not as lucky as I am.

I hope you enjoy reading all the stories in this edition of Fight Club. Thank you for doing so much to help children like me.

Merryn was diagnosed with a brain tumour at five years old.
Jack was diagnosed with cancer at four months old

We changed our name. Here’s why…

The last year has been the hardest in the charity’s history. But because of supporters and fundraisers like you and our frontline care workers all pulling together, our vital services for young cancer patients could continue and we adapted quickly to provide support in different ways throughout the pandemic.

But we had to make some really hard decisions last year because of the money we lost, and now we need to rebuild from the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on both the charity and the families you support.

The decision to change our name wasn’t taken lightly. Over the last couple of years, we’ve been busy speaking with many fabulous supporters, fundraisers and volunteers like you, as well as the young people and families you support. We also did lots of research with people who hadn’t heard of us before.

The verdict was clear – the old name was holding us back from achieving our goal of being there for every family from the point of diagnosis.

The research showed that supporters were three times more likely to donate to a charity called Young Lives vs Cancer rather than one named CLIC Sargent. That crucially could mean more money to support young cancer patients and more amazing supporters like you. It also showed that changing our name would mean more people understand what we do, and most importantly it will make it easier for families facing cancer to find us.

When Covid hit and put the vital services that families need at risk,
it was obvious we needed to go for it.

We will always be incredibly proud of our history, and we’re excited about what the future will bring with our new name. The reality is that families facing cancer need support now more than ever. They will always be at the heart of every decision we make. And we know you’d want that too.

And while we may have a new name, we still have the same purpose, passion and pride we’ve always had. With your invaluable support, more families will be able to find the strength to face everything cancer throws at them.

We changed our name. Here’s why…

The last year has been the hardest in the charity’s history. But because of supporters and fundraisers like you and our frontline care workers all pulling together, our vital services for young cancer patients could continue and we adapted quickly to provide support in different ways throughout the pandemic.

But we had to make some really hard decisions last year because of the money we lost, and now we need to rebuild from the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on both the charity and the families you support.

The decision to change our name wasn’t taken lightly. Over the last couple of years, we’ve been busy speaking with many fabulous supporters, fundraisers and volunteers like you, as well as the young people and families you support. We also did lots of research with people who hadn’t heard of us before.

The verdict was clear – the old name was holding us back from achieving our goal of being there for every family from the point of diagnosis.

The research showed that supporters were three times more likely to donate to a charity called Young Lives vs Cancer rather than one named CLIC Sargent. That crucially could mean more money to support young cancer patients and more amazing supporters like you. It also showed that changing our name would mean more people understand what we do, and most importantly it will make it easier for families facing cancer to find us.

When Covid hit and put the vital services that families need at risk,
it was obvious we needed to go for it.

We will always be incredibly proud of our history, and we’re excited about what the future will bring with our new name. The reality is that families facing cancer need support now more than ever. They will always be at the heart of every decision we make. And we know you’d want that too.

And while we may have a new name, we still have the same purpose, passion and pride we’ve always had. With your invaluable support, more families will be able to find the strength to face everything cancer throws at them.

Sophie’s story

I noticed blood in Sophie’s washing and I knew something wasn’t right. Call it mother’s intuition, but it couldn’t be her period yet. She was only nine.

When it didn’t stop, we took Sophie to A&E, and they discovered a huge 12cm tumour in her belly. My heart stopped. Sophie had been so embarrassed by the bleeding she’d been getting washed and ready herself, so we hadn’t noticed her swollen tummy.

After she had a seven-hour operation to remove as much of the tumour as possible, I was taken into a room. Without sleep, hands shaking and by myself because of Covid restrictions, I was told Sophie had cancer. I couldn’t believe it.

Thanks to amazing supporters like you, Young Lives vs Cancer was there for us.

While Sophie was undergoing daily treatment, we stayed nearby in Paul’s House – a Young Lives vs Cancer Home from Home in London. It made our life so much easier, it felt like home. The biggest thing for me was the kitchen. Sophie couldn’t cope with the smell of food. So, just being able to go downstairs to eat away from her made such a difference. There were a number of times where I had to rush Sophie back into hospital in the middle of the night, so staying at Paul’s House only a few minutes away really was invaluable.

Our Young Lives vs Cancer Social Worker Clare is amazing. She’s always there to have a chat and take some of the pressure off. Helping me fill in the complicated benefit forms is just one of the things she has done. It gave me one less thing to worry about when I didn’t have the headspace to think of anything but Sophie. It meant we could spend more time with Sophie when she really needed us. We knew Clare had it sorted and the relief was huge.

Thank you so much for all your help.

500,000 steps for James

James isn’t your average seven-year-old. Unlike his twin brother, his life has been filled with surgery and cancer treatment. When he was two, his mum Chantelle was told that he had an aggressive brain tumour. He’s spent the majority of his life in and out of hospital ever since.

Thanks to your support, Young Lives vs Cancer was able to be there for the whole family, giving them a place to stay in Billy’s House, one of our free Homes from Home close to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, where James was being treated.

“For the first year and a half of James’ treatment, the Home from Home quite literally became just that. We lived in the Home for over six months. Without this and all the other support that Young Lives vs Cancer has provided over the years, we would have been lost.”

Chantelle decided she wanted to give something back. So in March she joined thousands of incredible supporters like you to take on the mammoth 500,000 Steps challenge for Team Young Lives.

“I can’t make it better for James, I would in a heartbeat if I could. But this was something that I could do to make a difference.”

Together, our incredible walkers raised over £500,000 to help families just like Chantelle’s. If you were a part of the 500,000 Steps team or if you sponsored another walker then thank you – you have made an unbelievable difference to the lives of children and young people facing cancer.

If you missed out on the 500,000 Steps challenge, don’t worry. Exciting new fundraisers are always coming up. Click here to check out our upcoming challenges or call us on 0300 330 0803, and remember to follow us on social media to see what’s new.

500,000 steps for James

James isn’t your average seven-year-old. Unlike his twin brother, his life has been filled with surgery and cancer treatment. When he was two, his mum Chantelle was told that he had an aggressive brain tumour. He’s spent the majority of his life in and out of hospital ever since.

Thanks to your support, Young Lives vs Cancer was able to be there for the whole family, giving them a place to stay in Billy’s House, one of our free Homes from Home close to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, where James was being treated.

“For the first year and a half of James’ treatment, the Home from Home quite literally became just that. We lived in the Home for over six months. Without this and all the other support that Young Lives vs Cancer has provided over the years, we would have been lost.”

Chantelle decided she wanted to give something back. So in March she joined thousands of incredible supporters like you to take on the mammoth 500,000 Steps challenge for Team Young Lives.

“I can’t make it better for James, I would in a heartbeat if I could. But this was something that I could do to make a difference.”

Together, our incredible walkers raised over £500,000 to help families just like Chantelle’s. If you were a part of the 500,000 Steps team or if you sponsored another walker then thank you – you have made an unbelievable difference to the lives of children and young people facing cancer.

If you missed out on the 500,000 Steps challenge, don’t worry. Exciting new fundraisers are always coming up. Click here to check out our upcoming challenges or call us on 0300 330 0803, and remember to follow us on social media to see what’s new.

Shauna was 22 years old when she sat in an unfamiliar and clinical room facing a doctor she didn’t know and was told she had womb cancer.

Covid restrictions meant she couldn’t take anyone with her to her hospital appointment. She was forced to face it alone.

“They were the most terrifying words to hear. I had to ask them to repeat it because I couldn’t believe it. I was heartbroken – all I wanted was to have my mum with me. I’ve never felt more alone and scared in my life.”

Thankfully, Young Lives vs Cancer Social Worker June was allowed on the ward and she could be there for Shauna and checked in on her regularly. June helped Shauna understand what was going on and guided her through all the confusing conversations with doctors about her treatment. She made sure Shauna felt supported. June was amazing but no one could replace Shauna’s mum.

“I had a hysterectomy in August and mum wasn’t allowed in to see me. I woke up from the operation and was taken to the ward. I was crying and felt so alone. It would have made an unbelievable difference if my mum could have been there to support me through it all.”

Throughout the pandemic, young people have been facing cancer alone. And that’s just not OK.

So, we teamed up with Teenage Cancer Trust and, with the help of young people facing cancer, launched the Hand2Hold campaign – asking cancer ministers from all four home nations to commit to allowing young people like Shauna to have a hand to hold throughout their treatment and beyond. We also started a petition and asked you to help. As always, so many of you got behind it.

Seven months on there is now clear guidance for young cancer patients about when they can have someone by their side and how their treatment will be managed during the pandemic. But we are hearing that young people are still facing issues in some areas. So, we have further meetings planned with cancer ministers to make sure this stays on their agenda. We want to make sure no one has to face cancer without a loved one by their side.

Thank you for using your voice to stand up for families facing cancer. Together, we can continue to hold the government to account.

Shauna was 22 years old when she sat in an unfamiliar and clinical room facing a doctor she didn’t know and was told she had womb cancer.

Covid restrictions meant she couldn’t take anyone with her to her hospital appointment. She was forced to face it alone.

“They were the most terrifying words to hear. I had to ask them to repeat it because I couldn’t believe it. I was heartbroken – all I wanted was to have my mum with me. I’ve never felt more alone and scared in my life.”

Thankfully, Young Lives vs Cancer Social Worker June was allowed on the ward and she could be there for Shauna and checked in on her regularly. June helped Shauna understand what was going on and guided her through all the confusing conversations with doctors about her treatment. She made sure Shauna felt supported. June was amazing but no one could replace Shauna’s mum.

“I had a hysterectomy in August and mum wasn’t allowed in to see me. I woke up from the operation and was taken to the ward. I was crying and felt so alone. It would have made an unbelievable difference if my mum could have been there to support me through it all.”

Throughout the pandemic, young people have been facing cancer alone. And that’s just not OK.

So, we teamed up with Teenage Cancer Trust and, with the help of young people facing cancer, launched the Hand2Hold campaign – asking cancer ministers from all four home nations to commit to allowing young people like Shauna to have a hand to hold throughout their treatment and beyond. We also started a petition and asked you to help. As always, so many of you got behind it.

Seven months on there is now clear guidance for young cancer patients about when they can have someone by their side and how their treatment will be managed during the pandemic. But we are hearing that young people are still facing issues in some areas. So, we have further meetings planned with cancer ministers to make sure this stays on their agenda. We want to make sure no one has to face cancer without a loved one by their side.

Thank you for using your voice to stand up for families facing cancer. Together, we can continue to hold the government to account.

With your help, we know we can do our families proud.

There’s so many ways to get involved with Young Lives vs Cancer – from events and volunteering to challenges galore. Click here for more info.

The pandemic hit us hard and we’re still building back from the damage. With your help, we know we can be there to help families face whatever cancer throws at them.

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