The Candlelighters Supportive Care Research Centre

Did you know that of all children who die with cancer, 1 in 3 will die not because of the cancer, but because of the side effects of treatment? Worse still, research into reducing these side effects for children is under-resourced, sparse, and inadequate.

Amazing progress has been made in understanding and treating childhood cancers. Today, around 80% of children or young people diagnosed with cancer survive.

But despite advances in curative medicine, little has been done to improve the experience of living through and beyond cancer. Children often receive cancer treatments designed for adults and the impact on their smaller bodies can be severe. They suffer horrible side effects which can be traumatic, permanent, and even deadly.

Meet Ralph

Six-year-old Ralph has T-cell lymphoma.

The treatment he’s receiving is incredibly effective; it began immediately and he is responding well to it. But it’s shocking to see what the side effects are doing to his little body...

The chemotherapy is aggressive and makes him sick. It decays his teeth and five have to be removed. His skin is sore and painful to touch. His immune system is severely suppressed, and he develops sepsis. Ralph’s mum, Cleo says, “No one can prepare you for the side effects. He couldn’t walk, he swelled up from steroids, he would scream in agony.

If the side effects of Ralph’s treatment aren’t controlled properly, there’s even a risk he could die. We urgently need better ways to care for Ralph that will limit his side effects, reduce his suffering, and improve his quality of life and chance of survival.

The care Ralph needs doesn’t exist yet – but it will.

Introducing the Candlelighters Supportive Care Research Centre

Developing effective, kinder care is the best and fastest way to improve the lives of children with cancer and increase their chances of survival. The research that will help us do this is called supportive care.


What is Supportive Care?

Supportive care refers to everything except the treatment of the cancer itself. Supportive care includes preventing side effects of treatment, managing pain and reducing infection. It’s the care that gives children as full a life as possible.


We know research makes a difference. After all, because of research, the five-year survival rate for children’s cancers increased from 73% to 86% between 1997 and 2016. Now, we’re establishing the first Candlelighters Supportive Care Research Centre (CSCRC) at the University of York to develop effective, kinder care for young people with cancer, which will save lives, reduce suffering, and bring hope.

The CSCRC will enable the world’s leading supportive care experts to carry out high-quality research. It will invest in future supportive care specialists. And it will save lives, reduce suffering and bring hope to young people with cancer – not just in Yorkshire, but around the world.

As part of our commitment to childhood cancer research, we’ve worked closely with experts to identify the huge impact that can be made through improved supportive care. We believe our Research Centre can change the landscape of cancer care and transform what it means to undergo cancer treatment as a child.

Here, a team of experts will conduct high-value research which will rapidly advance the care of children and young people with cancer. Creating the Candlelighters Supportive Care Research Centre is a five-year project which will cost just under £1m. Together, we can make it a reality.

In the last 25 years alone we have invested over £11m into childhood cancer research, to improve early diagnosis, survival rates, treatments and quality of life, and develop experts for the future. Now, we want to take our commitment to the next level,

What impact will the Candlelighters Supportive Care Research Centre have?

In the short term, we will look at how to minimise hospital stays, prevent severe mucositis (mouth ulcers) and prevent nausea and vomiting. In the long-term (5-15 years), we aim to see:

  • A team of new, capable researchers who will take studies to the next level.
  • Fewer children and young people dying from side effects caused by cancer treatment.
  • Better nutritional interventions and improved psychological and social support.
  • Sustainable generation of grant income to continue to produce high-quality research.
  • A Yorkshire-based, world-class centre of excellence in research, impacting global care.

We want to ensure young people and their families are at the heart of our research. To learn more about how you can have your say on the research the centre will do, visit here.

We're currently looking for people, businesses or foundations who may be able to help with funding support for this ground-breaking research. If you would like to be involved or would like to find out more, email [email protected].

Our stories

Company of the month…Howard Civil Engineering!
21-11-23Our stories • Posted by Honey Best-Barton
We are so pleased to announce that our latest Company of the Month is Howard Civil Engineering! This month we would like to celebrate Howard Civil Engineering as they have made some excellent fundraising efforts for Candlelighters and purchased new toys for the Play Room! In September, a courageous team from the company participated in …
Research centre launched to tackle life-threatening side-effects of childhood cancer treatments
09-11-23Our stories • Posted by Honey Best-Barton
Across the UK, 2,418 children and teenagers are diagnosed with cancer each year, and of all children who unfortunately pass away, one in three die not because of cancer but because of the side effects of treatment.  Although treatments are much more effective now, for children and young people, they are harsh and have terrible …
Company of the month…CHN Financial & Victoria Court Private Clients!
25-10-23Our stories • Posted by Honey Best-Barton
We are so pleased to announce that our latest Company of the Month is CHN Financial & Victoria Court Private Clients! CHN Financial & Victoria Court Private Clients chose Candlelighters as their Charity of the Year in November 2021 and started their fundraising early 2022. We are incredibly grateful that they chose to continue supporting …
Brandon’s Story!
22-10-23Our stories • Posted by Honey Best-Barton
Brandon from Cottingham had never needed to be in hospital, until early 2022. What was a suspected viral infection turned out to be acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). Brandon’s mum Samantha tells us their story. Samantha – “We’re a family of five – myself, my husband Chris, Brandon, Elliot and our dog Ringo. We’ve all always …
Company of the month…FOD Mobility!
01-08-23Our stories • Posted by Candlelighters Marketing
We are so pleased to announce that our latest Company of the Month is FOD Mobility! FOD Mobility Group voted for Candlelighters to be their Charity of the Year at the start of the year and since then, we have been so grateful for the excellent ways they’ve been involved in fundraising. Thanks to their …
Company of the month…Caddick Group!
27-07-23Our stories • Posted by Candlelighters Marketing
We are so pleased to announce that our latest Company of the Month is Caddick Group! Caddick have been supporting our families since 2018, and in that time have raised over £100,000! This phenomenal amount has been raised through a huge variety of events, including at their annual ‘Moment In Time’ ball, a legendary event …
Stacy’s story!
22-07-23Our stories • Posted by Honey Best-Barton
Stacy Procter lives in Leeds and, since 2017, has volunteered an incredible 135 hours of her time and raised over £22k for Candlelighters. In June 2023, she was shortlisted for Volunteer of the Year at the Yorkshire Choice Awards. Stacy tells us her story. Stacy – “I started volunteering for Candlelighters by helping at family …
Being there for families at the hospital
13-07-23Our stories • Posted by Honey Best-Barton
When a child diagnosed with cancer is admitted to hospital, it can be an incredibly tough time for them and their whole family. Because of the generosity of supporters like you, our Family Support Team are at the hospital six days a week to make this difficult time a little easier for families. They work …

Your stories

Local student raises over £2,500 in brave swimming challenge for Candlelighters!
30-10-23Your stories • Posted by Honey Best-Barton
Rebecca Haestier, Ilkley Grammar student wanted to help raised funds for Candlelighters by swimming 20 lengths with two broken legs which are in cages.  Courageous student Rebecca Haestier who is 14 years old, decided she would like to raise money in an epic swimming challenge to give back to Candlelighters to help children and their …
Halifax Family and friends to take on Manchester Half Marathon for 2-year-old Gracie-Mae!
02-08-23Your stories • Posted by Honey Best-Barton
A 31-strong team of family and friends will complete the race in support of Gracie-Mae McHugh and Candlelighters.  The lives of Gracie-Mae and her family were turned upside down in February when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, aged just 2. Parents Helen and Danny, from Halifax, West Yorkshire, first took Gracie to hospital …