Name a Candlelighters Star on our virtual skyline as a celebration for someone special.
Help make the stars shine bright this Christmas and bring light to families in the darkest of times.
Five year old Hannah was first diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia when she was just 11 months old and in 2019, sadly relapsed. After the extreme challenges faced by Hannah and her family this year, it is more important than ever that Hannah gets the Christmas she deserves.
Throughout this year, COVID-19 has affected all our lives in countless ways. But for families like Hannah’s facing childhood cancer, whose lives have already been turned upside down, COVID-19 has made life more difficult than ever.
“Restrictions at the hospital made things extremely hard as we weren’t able to properly comfort each other or even just give each other a hug. We felt ripped apart” says Hannah’s Mum, Allison.
The ever-changing lockdown rules are causing extreme psychological and emotional challenges for our families as they make decisions on how to adapt to the frequently changing guidelines, whilst limiting risk and protecting their child.
As Christmas approaches, many of us are preparing for it to look a little different this year. For families facing childhood cancer, Christmas can already be a difficult time and this year, in particular, these difficulties are likely to be felt even more acutely.
A child’s Christmas should be a time free of care and worry, spending precious time with family and friends, making special memories and having fun. But the harsh reality facing many of our children and their families this year is a Christmas of anxiety, isolation and financial hardship.
Allison told us, “Last year, our Christmas Day was spent watching Hannah laying in an induced coma with a ventilator helping her to breathe. The nurses gave us their Christmas dinner, we ate it out of a polystyrene container. The screens we watched showed Hannah’s vitals. We brought over gifts from home ‘just in case’; they sat unopened. We spent Christmas Day heartbroken.”.
This Christmas, many children on the ward will have no choice but to isolate. They will be unable to spend time with their grandparents, close family, and for some, even siblings and parents, during a time when family is most important. Financial uncertainty will also increase pressure on what is already a very expensive time of year, as many of our families face sustained loss of earnings, mounting costs and concerns over job security as a result of their child’s diagnosis and heightened by the impact of COVID-19.
For over 40 Christmases, Candlelighters has brought light to children and families in the darkest of times and this year will be no different. We will be here to support our families by continuing to offer our adapted virtual services to help our children have at least some of the Christmas they truly deserve.
“We feel it would have been very hard without the support of Candlelighters and we are extremely fortunate that we can continue to access to this kind of support.” – Allison.
We will also bring joy to families in other ways this Christmas: providing every family we currently support a with a special Christmas gift, bringing people together virtually through events like our Family Christmas Quiz (hosted by Santa himself!) and supporting financially by providing around 200 vital Christmas grants to our families.
“We have previously participated in Candlelighters’ festive activities and it was really beneficial to have a dose of fun and excitement, knowing that great care was taken surrounding the children’s wellbeing, as well as still having the availability of wellbeing sessions for us parents.” says Allison.
We are determined to give children like Hannah the Christmas she deserves but without you, we cannot make this happen.
Candlelighters relies solely on the generous support of the community to continue delivering our services this Christmas, however, we have seen a huge gap in funding due to mass participation event cancellations and a severe drop in community and corporate fundraising. In the first half of this year, we experienced a 41% drop in core fundraising income and we currently stand to lose approximately £500,000 of core funding over the year.
We need your help to make the stars shine bright this Christmas and bring light to families in the darkest of times. See below for the ways you can help.
Enter Champ’s Christmas Raffle to help families and be in with a chance of winning some amazing prizes.
Buy our virtual Christmas e-cards to send to friends, family or colleagues.
Or you can buy our limited stock of physical Christmas cards (and other merchandise!) from our online shop, here.
By making a donation, big or small, you will keep our candle burning and bring light to families affected by childhood cancer in Yorkshire.