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

Stacy’s story
22-07-23Our stories • Posted by Honey Best-Barton
Stacy Procter lives in Leeds and, since 2017, has volunteered an incredible 135 hours of her time and raised over £22k for Candlelighters. In June 2023, she was shortlisted for Volunteer of the Year at the Yorkshire Choice Awards. Stacy tells us her story. Stacy – “I started volunteering for Candlelighters by helping at family …
Being there for families at the hospital
13-07-23Our stories • Posted by Honey Best-Barton
When a child diagnosed with cancer is admitted to hospital, it can be an incredibly tough time for them and their whole family. Because of the generosity of supporters like you, our Family Support Team are at the hospital six days a week to make this difficult time a little easier for families. They work …
Company of the month…Quality Bearings Online!
22-06-23Our stories • Posted by Candlelighters Marketing
We are so pleased to announce that our latest Company of the Month is Quality Bearings Online! Quality Bearings Online began supporting us 2022, the same year they celebrated their ten-year anniversary. They kicked off their fundraising efforts with a member of their staff participating in Tough Mudder. Harry Shelborn completed the enduring mud run …
Company of the month…Bettys York!
18-05-23Our stories • Posted by Candlelighters Marketing
We are so pleased to announce that our latest Company of the Month is Bettys York! The well-known institution, Bettys Café Tea Rooms, has a rich and fascinating history. Our journey with Bettys York began more recently in October 2022 when Candlelighters was nominated as Bettys York’s branch charity by a member of their kitchen …
Late Bradford Philanthropist’s kindness lives on with incredible gift to Candlelighters!
04-04-23Our stories • Posted by Honey Best-Barton
Candlelighters is one of several charities to have been gifted a donation from Joyce Mary Mountain’s estate, following her death in 2005.  Joyce Mary Mountain ran the Bradford-based Victor Manufacturing Company – now one of the UK’s largest foodservice equipment manufacturers – which she co-founded with her husband. She continued to live in Bradford for …
Company of the month… Walker Morris LLP!
09-03-23Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
We are so pleased to announce that our latest Company of the Month is Walker Morris LLP! Last October, the Leeds-based legal company voted to support Candlelighters as their charity of the year for 2022-2023. In the first four months of the partnership, the team have got stuck in and have raised over £5,750 for Candlelighters. …
Company of the month… Sentinel Squad!
17-02-23Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
We are so pleased to announce that our latest Company of the Month is Sentinel Squad UK! Founded in 2013, Sentinel Squad UK is a Star Wars fandom group based in Yorkshire, which raises money for local children’s charities. Members of Sentinel Squad UK travel to different events and locations dressed as Star Wars characters, collecting …
Company of the Month… Absolute Warehouse Services!
06-01-23Our stories • Posted by Gill Davenport
We are so pleased to announce that our latest Company of the Month is Absolute Warehouse Services! Absolute Warehouse have been supporting Candlelighters since 2018 and have donated an amazing £19,000 during that time. Most recently, they sponsored the Candlelighters Christmas Party for the second time by making a very generous donation of £5,500 and …
Company of the Month… Lovell Eastern!
15-12-22Our stories • Posted by Gill Davenport
We are so pleased to announce that our latest Company of the Month is Lovell Eastern! Charity of the Year partners Lovell Eastern have so far raised a fantastic £8,590 for Candlelighters by undertaking all sorts of fabulous fundraising, including: Hosting a charity golf day in July Giving donations from the sale of show home …

Your stories

Allen’s Story!
30-01-23Your stories • Posted by Honey Best-Barton
Allen Hart from Leeds became involved with Candlelighters after we supported his family throughout his daughter, Laura’s, diagnosis and treatment for Wilms Tumour. Laura sadly passed away in 2007 aged just three. Allen began fundraising before Laura died and has continued ever since, making him one of our longest-standing fundraisers.   It all began with Allen …