Hi everyone. We are Julie and Andy, parents to Rhian and Keeley.
Rhian was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) shortly after her fifth birthday in 2015. She completed her treatment in August 2017 and was clear of cancer for 20 months. She sadly relapsed in April 2019 and then during her treatment for this relapse, she relapsed again in June 2020, which resulted in Rhian needing a bone marrow transplant. Luckily Keeley, her twin sister, was a 100% match.
In July 2020, Keeley donated her bone marrow, which was then transfused into Rhian. The transplant went well and we were sent home from hospital later that November, with quite a few trips back and forth towards the end of last
year. On the 22nd of December, we were back in hospital overnight for a TNP (IV nutrition – you get to know all the terminology) as Rhian wasn’t eating so well. Luckily, we were able to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at home, as well as New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. We were able to go home on day leave, just needing to go back to hospital in the evening and overnight.
Candlelighters, the Play Team and all the staff made it very special for us over Christmas, with all the treats, presents and messages we received. We were discharged on 7th January 2021 and have been home ever since. Rhian’s appetite is improving and she is starting to feel much betterand getting stronger every day.
During all of Rhian’s treatment, Candlelighters have been there every step of the way. Candlelighters puts smiles on our children’s faces during very difficult times. Some of the things Candlelighters has supported us with are:
- Being there on the ward and bringing us anything we need (especially Elaine with her warm breakfasts and lemon slushies!)
- Sitting with Rhian so I could get a shower or nip out for supplies.
- Shaving Rhian’s hair when it first started falling out.
- Center Parcs holidays, to escape for a few days from treatment and hospital.
- A Sibling Residential to support Keeley, and off ering much-needed haircuts for me when I’ve been on the ward for long periods of time.
All these things take our minds off treatment for a bit and make the girls really happy! All of the Candlelighters staff are really friendly and always have time to have a chat and ask if there is anything we need.
Julie & Andy x
April 10th is National Siblings Day and we want to recognise the many siblings affected by childhood cancer.
For over 40 years, Candlelighters have been there for the siblings of children going through childhood cancer as part of our support to the whole family. Siblings can be hit particularly hard when their brother or sister is diagnosed with cancer, with tough feelings to deal with and the huge impact on their day-to-day lives. Candlelighters are there for them every step of the way, from providing therapy and wellbeing sessions with trained professionals to day trips and sibling groups, we ensure siblings get the support they need and do not face this alone.
We are able to provide this vital support to siblings because of donations and fundraising from our wonderful supporters.
If you would like to make a donation today, you can do so here!