As a children’s cancer charity, it is vital that the voices and experiences of patients help guide what we do. We were thrilled when two former patients, Rohan Randhawa and Mathew Bower, joined our Trustee Board last year.

Rohan and Mathew provide incredibly valuable input to ensure children, young people, and families are at the heart of our decisions and plans. Recently, Rohan’s story was shared in the press, helping to demonstrate the importance of Rohan and Mathew’s roles on our Trustee Board.

As a young boy, Rohan’s older brother noticed his hands and feet had swollen up while playing cricket in the garden. His mother took him to A,&E where it was found out that Rohan’s kidneys had burst. However, this wasn’t the most startling discovery of their visit: a small growth had been found on his lymph node, which resulted in a cancer diagnosis.

Rohan, now 27, started chemotherapy and spent many years in and out of St James Hospital, where he first met children’s cancer charity Candlelighters. “The pink t-shirts of all the Candlelighters staff is something that still resonates today and makes me feel at ease.”

Rohan is National Manager for Chance to Shine, a national cricket charity. Before his father passed away in 2016, he donated monthly from his wage to Candlelighters, and he often said to Rohan that he needed to give something back one day.

Rohan has now joined the Board of Trustees at Candlelighters, after side effects from his chemotherapy treatment as a child made him reflect on his traumatic experience with cancer.

“I truly believe that without the emotional support Candlelighters provided me and my family with all those years ago, I might not have dealt with things as well as I did, and I may not be where I am today. The reason I took up a trustee role on the board at Candlelighters is to try do my bit to support young people going through the worst imaginable circumstances. Walking into the Candlelighters Family Support Centre brought back that feeling of comfort and calm straight away.”

Rohan with his older brother, Gurman
Rohan with his wife, Karina

The Candlelighters Trustee Board comprises a team including clinical experts, parents of patients, and past patients to make important decisions on how the charity is run. CEO Emily Wragg says, “We are so grateful that Rohan and Mathew have joined the board and will bring their knowledge of a child’s experience with cancer and the long-term side effects to Candlelighters. They have already contributed so much, and we can’t wait to work with them further.”

Established in 1976, Candlelighters is dedicated to supporting children and their families across Yorkshire who are impacted by childhood cancer. Each year, in Yorkshire alone, over 150 children are diagnosed with some form of cancer. The charity offers family support in many forms, from practical financial support for families and funded holidays to talking therapies, wellbeing treatments and support groups for siblings.

We’re pleased to welcome Rohan to the team!

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