Christmas Appeal 2023

When a child is diagnosed with cancer, it becomes more important than ever to spend time together as a family, make memories, and have some fun and escapism from the day-to-day reality.

Every year, Candlelighters provides a very special Christmas party for children with cancer and their families. There are costumes and characters, meet and greets with Santa, presents, food, music, games, and lots of happiness and fun. All of this helps to make Christmas truly magical for children with cancer. Our Christmas party is cherished by families for providing an opportunity to spend precious time together, make memories, and for children to enjoy the wonder of Christmas.

Two-year-old Amelie and her family attended the Candlelighters Christmas party last year in 2022. Amelie's dad, Tom, said that "as soon as you walked in, you felt special."

Amelie lives with her mum, Jo, dad, Tom, and Dylan the dog, in Baildon, West Yorkshire. In September 2022, when she was two years old, Amelie was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL).

Christmas 2022 was tough for their family. Amelie was born during lockdown, so they hadn’t had a normal Christmas. When Amelie was diagnosed in September, their idea of 2022 being their first normal Christmas was taken away.

Mum, Jo, said that "We hadn’t been sure whether Amelie would be in hospital over Christmas, as she was in the middle of treatment. This made it impossible to plan anything, as we didn’t know where we’d be on Christmas Day."

The Candlelighters Christmas Party will return this year in December, to make Christmas magical for children with cancer.

"The party was just amazing. As soon as we walked in, we felt special. It felt like Christmas was there, in that room. It was such a special day, and Amelie was just so excited. We finally saw her smile again at the Christmas Party."

Jo and Tom had been so focussed on hospital visits and medication that they hadn’t even managed to put their tree up. "It was just so lovely to go to something that put us in the Christmassy mood. We hadn’t expected it to be as big and exciting as it was. There was just so much to see – each time we walked round a corner, there was something new. There were so many characters – Storm Troopers, Elsa and Anna from Frozen… The big hall was just jam-packed full of activities and music.

Amelie had her face painted at the party and loved it! Every time we go anywhere now, she wants to have her face painted! She also won some teddies and sweeties on the tombola, and there was a magician, who was amazing!"

It costs £32 to give a child with cancer their own special Christmas.

At the Candlelighters Christmas Party, families can be with other people who are in the same situation, whether they are friends from the ward, or families at different stages of their journey - people who understand.

"It was the first year we would have thought about taking Amelie to see Santa, but as she was immunosuppressed, we were really conscious of her being around people. At the party, we knew that this was understood and that everyone would be really careful because we were all going through the same thing.

The Candlelighters Christmas Party was one of the first times since Amelie’s diagnosis that we’d all had a nice day. We started to see the light – it gave us the boost we all needed to get us through the next phase of her treatment. Every phase we got through was a step closer to being back to normal."

Every year, Candlelighters attempts to make Christmas as magical as possible for children like Amelie and their families. It’s these happy memories which last a lifetime and give children an escape from cancer, just for a while. It costs £32 to send a child to our Christmas party. This year, we’re asking supporters for your help to make Christmas magical for children with cancer by funding a child’s Christmas party place. If you’d like to support us in doing this, you can make a donation here.

Our stories

Introducing the Nominees: Company Colleague of the Year
29-08-18Our stories • Posted by Candlelighters Marketing
Chloe Cross   Reception Manager Chloe Cross is the reason Candlelighters became Sky Betting & Gaming Charity this year. Her willingness to make a difference took her out of comfort zone in December 2017 when she stood up in front of peers and delivered an emotional pitch for Candlelighters, that later inspired hundreds of employees …
Introducing the Nominees: Event of the Year!
23-08-18Our stories • Posted by Candlelighters Marketing
Introducing the next award category nominees: Event of the Year! These amazing nominees have organised outstanding innovative, creative and challenging events to support Candlelighters. Bank of England Following the launch of the new £10 note in September, various Jane Austen notes with low or special serial numbers were auctioned for charity in October last year. The auction, …
Introducing the Nominees: Fundraising Innovation Award
23-08-18Our stories • Posted by Candlelighters Marketing
Introducing the next award category nominees: Fundraising Innovation Award!  These amazing nominees have come up with new and interesting ways to raise funds and awareness. We want to recognise them for thinking outside the box and utilisting their unique skills to support Candlelighters.   Pig & Pastry Julia and Steve Holding decided to do something …
Introducing the Nominees: Team Effort
20-08-18Our stories • Posted by Candlelighters Marketing
Introducing the next award category nominees: Team Effort of the Year!  These groups have worked hard thorough out the year both fundraising, raising awareness and supporting Candlelighters. Here is some more information about each of the nominees: Leeds RAG  The Leeds RAG undertook their Pedal to Prague challenge, cycling from Leeds to Prague in June …

Your stories

Company donates a good night’s sleep for families
23-08-18Your stories • Posted by Candlelighters Marketing
  Cleckheaton based company, Duvalay, have generously donated 10 of their most comfortable mattresses to the Candlelighters Cottage, due to open in October. The Cottage will provide home from home accommodation near to Leeds Children’s Hospital; enabling families to stay together whilst a child is undergoing inpatient treatment. For many parents sleeping in a chair …
Introducing the Nominees: Above & Beyond Effort of the Year
13-08-18Your stories • Posted by Candlelighters Marketing
With The Candlelighters Awards slowly approaching, we would like to introduce you to our amazing shortlisted nominees – this feature focussed on the ‘Above & Beyond Effort of the Year’ category. Words can’t describe how much these people have done for Candlelighters over the past year but we will give it our best shot.   Adrian …
The Lindsey’s scale Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis in just six days!
09-08-18Your stories • Posted by Candlelighters Marketing
The Lindsey Family decided to in their words ‘having a crack at climbing Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis (the highest mountains in Wales, England and Scotland respectively) in 6 days.’ Graham Lindsey the family’s father said: “We might not manage it all but we’ll give it a good go because we want to raise …
Calverley Golf Club’s Charity of the Year raises over £7,000
08-08-18Your stories • Posted by Candlelighters Marketing
Lee Dane and his wife Emma, who live in Bradford chose Candlelighters are their charity to support this year. Lee is Captain at Calverley Golf Club and he wanted to support a local children’s charity, after reading what Candlelighters do they themselves a target to raise £5,000 through various events from January 2018 until the …
Shannen-Keelie will be shaving her head for Candlelighters and donating her hair to The Little Princess Trust.
07-08-18Your stories • Posted by Candlelighters Marketing
Shannen-Keelie, of Keyingham, gave birth to Charleen Clifton on July 23rd 2015. Unbeknown to them at the time, Charleen was born with Infantile Fibrosarcoma, diagnosed aged just 3 months after her Grandma noticed a lump on her leg. Infantile Fibrosarcoma is a tissue tumour, with a percentage of 1 individual diagnosed every 4 to 7 …
Welcome back RAG Prague
06-08-18Your stories • Posted by Candlelighters Marketing
We would like to welcome back the Leeds RAG’s Pedal to Prague team from their trip. They have now completed the challenge and raised £26,638.99! When returning to the UK the leaders all agreed that it was one of the hardest but most fun challenges they had ever done. They (and we) are so proud …