Our Christmas Appeal

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.

This year, we’re holding the first Christmas party since before the pandemic. 14-year-old Daniel and his family attended the last Candlelighters Christmas party in 2019. Daniel’s mum, Emma, said it was a ‘perfect day’.

Daniel lives in Todmorden with his parents and four siblings Rian, Erin, Ava, and Noah. In 2018 he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. A surgery to remove the tumour was successful but less than a year later he was diagnosed with a further two brain tumours requiring further surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. Soon after starting treatment, Daniel was diagnosed with Li Fraumeni syndrome, a rare genetic disorder which increases the risk of developing cancer. Emma describes Daniel’s diagnosis as ‘life-shattering’ for their family and through his treatment he had to brave sight loss, a seizure, paralysation, being unable to speak or walk, and terrible mouth ulcers and sores which prevented eating and swallowing.

Daniel and his family attended our Christmas party the day after he finished his treatment. Emma says, ‘We had the most wonderful day together as a family, with everyone from Candlelighters there too. We had only seen the team on the ward and in clinic, usually when Daniel was at his worst, so it was fantastic to see everyone in a happier environment.’

Arriving at the party they were greeted by Storm Troopers and Ewoks which ‘Put a huge smile on everyone’s faces, and the smiles continued throughout the day!’ according to Emma.

Emma continued, ‘We caught up with many of the other families that we had met and spent a lot of time with on the ward and there was so much going on to entertain the children including sweets, dancing, face painting and games.’

‘At the time we still had no idea if Daniel’s treatment had worked, so it was a day to make memories, all the time in the back of our minds that this could potentially be our last Christmas all together. All the children got the most thoughtful presents, and we got my most favourite photo of us all together with Father Christmas. I can honestly say it was a perfect day.’

Daniel is now almost three years post-treatment and is doing well. Every year, Candlelighters attempts to make Christmas as magical as possible for children like Daniel 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 £25 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.

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