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

Company of the Month… Intuitive Business Intelligence
08-11-22Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
We are so pleased to announce that our latest Company of the Month is Intuitive Business Intelligence! During Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September, Intuitive got stuck in raising funds and awareness for children with cancer. They got involved in our 150 Mile Challenge, even putting their own twist on it by splitting into teams …
Candlelighters is GOING GOLDEN for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
27-09-22Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (CCAM) takes place in September each year, with children’s cancer charities worldwide taking the opportunity to increase awareness of childhood cancer to raise vital funds to support their work. Around 1,800 children are diagnosed with cancer every year in the UK with 150 children diagnosed in Yorkshire alone. Receiving a cancer …
Company of the Month … D&D London!!
16-09-22Our stories • Posted by Niamh Sedgwick
We are delighted to announce that our latest company of the month is D&D London! D&D London first began supporting Candlelighters in July by asking customers to add a £1 donation to their bill, across their four Leeds restaurants, Crafthouse, Angelica, Issho and East 59th. Across the four restaurants in July, they raised £1,185. As …
Candlelighters’ Annual General Meeting (AGM)
13-09-22Our stories • Posted by Niamh Sedgwick
Candlelighters’ Annual General Meeting (AGM) 28/09/22 – 28/09/22 About this Event You’re invited to our Annual General Meeting When: Wednesday 28th September 2022. Where: We are hoping that this will be held in person at The Square. This will be confirmed around a week before the event. Time: 6:00-6:30 (Can meet from 5:30 for refreshments) …
Harrogate Candlelighters announce their annual main event!
19-08-22Our stories • Posted by Becky Pearey
The wait is now over….on behalf of Harrogate Candlelighters we would like to invite you to our annual main event, the first in 4 years! Saturday 26th November 2022 ‘NARNIA’ at the Pavilions of Harrogate The Pavilions of Harrogate are being transformed into a fabulously magical winter Narnia scene. There’s an exquisite menu of contemporary cuisine, together …
Company of the Month… Optm!
29-07-22Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
We are delighted to announce that our latest Company of the Month is the fantastic Optm! They have recently hit the incredible milestone of £150,000 raised since they became part of the Candlelighters family eight years ago. The amazing people at Optm have taken on some fabulous challenges and events to raise funds, from walking …
Participants needed for rhabdomyosarcoma research
10-06-22Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
Our friends at Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) are funding a study to help understand decision-making for relapsed and refractory rhabdomyosarcoma. Researchers including Dr Bob Phillips and Dr Jess Morgan are looking for parents or carers of children and young people with relapsed or refractory rhabdomyosarcoma, or young people themselves, to have one telephone …
Company of the Month… Oakwood Garden Rooms!
26-05-22Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
We’re absolutely thrilled to announce our Company of the Month for April 2022 is Oakwood Garden Rooms! Leeds-based Oakwood Garden Rooms have been supporting Candlelighters as their charity of choice since December 2020. In this time, they have raised an absolutely incredible amount for Candlelighters through some fantastic online raffles. Owner Liam Griffin and the …
Childhood Cancer Outcomes Westminster Debate – April 2022
06-05-22Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
We are so pleased that on Tuesday 26th April, the first-ever Westminster debate on Childhood Cancer Outcomes was held. It was led by MP Caroline Dineage whose constituent Sophie Fairall died last September at the age of ten following a diagnosis of rhabdomyosarcoma. Caroline said, “Childhood cancer is often referred to as rare, but it is the …

Your stories

Supporter Spotlight: Leeds Paediatric Dentistry Team
27-10-22Your stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
Today we’d like to say a huge thank you to the Leeds Paediatric Dentistry Team who took on the Yorkshire Three Peaks to raise funds for Candlelighters! Claudia Heggie from the team said, ‘As a children’s dentistry team, we work with oncology teams to make sure that children have healthy mouths ahead of their cancer …