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… Absolute Warehouse Services!
06-01-23Our stories • Posted by Gill Davenport
We are so pleased to announce that our latest Company of the Month is Absolute Warehouse Services! Absolute Warehouse have been supporting Candlelighters since 2018 and have donated an amazing £19,000 during that time. Most recently, they sponsored the Candlelighters Christmas Party for the second time by making a very generous donation of £5,500 and …
Company of the Month… Lovell Eastern!
15-12-22Our stories • Posted by Gill Davenport
We are so pleased to announce that our latest Company of the Month is Lovell Eastern! Charity of the Year partners Lovell Eastern have so far raised a fantastic £8,590 for Candlelighters by undertaking all sorts of fabulous fundraising, including: Hosting a charity golf day in July Giving donations from the sale of show home …
Company of the Month… Intuitive Business Intelligence
08-11-22Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
We are so pleased to announce that our latest Company of the Month is Intuitive Business Intelligence! During Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September, Intuitive got stuck in raising funds and awareness for children with cancer. They got involved in our 150 Mile Challenge, even putting their own twist on it by splitting into teams …
Candlelighters is GOING GOLDEN for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
27-09-22Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (CCAM) takes place in September each year, with children’s cancer charities worldwide taking the opportunity to increase awareness of childhood cancer to raise vital funds to support their work. Around 1,800 children are diagnosed with cancer every year in the UK with 150 children diagnosed in Yorkshire alone. Receiving a cancer …
Company of the Month … D&D London!!
16-09-22Our stories • Posted by Niamh Sedgwick
We are delighted to announce that our latest company of the month is D&D London! D&D London first began supporting Candlelighters in July by asking customers to add a £1 donation to their bill, across their four Leeds restaurants, Crafthouse, Angelica, Issho and East 59th. Across the four restaurants in July, they raised £1,185. As …
Candlelighters’ Annual General Meeting (AGM)
13-09-22Our stories • Posted by Niamh Sedgwick
Candlelighters’ Annual General Meeting (AGM) 28/09/22 – 28/09/22 About this Event You’re invited to our Annual General Meeting When: Wednesday 28th September 2022. Where: We are hoping that this will be held in person at The Square. This will be confirmed around a week before the event. Time: 6:00-6:30 (Can meet from 5:30 for refreshments) …
Harrogate Candlelighters announce their annual main event!
19-08-22Our stories • Posted by Becky Pearey
The wait is now over….on behalf of Harrogate Candlelighters we would like to invite you to our annual main event, the first in 4 years! Saturday 26th November 2022 ‘NARNIA’ at the Pavilions of Harrogate The Pavilions of Harrogate are being transformed into a fabulously magical winter Narnia scene. There’s an exquisite menu of contemporary cuisine, together …
Company of the Month… Optm!
29-07-22Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
We are delighted to announce that our latest Company of the Month is the fantastic Optm! They have recently hit the incredible milestone of £150,000 raised since they became part of the Candlelighters family eight years ago. The amazing people at Optm have taken on some fabulous challenges and events to raise funds, from walking …
Participants needed for rhabdomyosarcoma research
10-06-22Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
Our friends at Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) are funding a study to help understand decision-making for relapsed and refractory rhabdomyosarcoma. Researchers including Dr Bob Phillips and Dr Jess Morgan are looking for parents or carers of children and young people with relapsed or refractory rhabdomyosarcoma, or young people themselves, to have one telephone …

Your stories

Supporter Spotlight: Leeds Paediatric Dentistry Team
27-10-22Your stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
Today we’d like to say a huge thank you to the Leeds Paediatric Dentistry Team who took on the Yorkshire Three Peaks to raise funds for Candlelighters! Claudia Heggie from the team said, ‘As a children’s dentistry team, we work with oncology teams to make sure that children have healthy mouths ahead of their cancer …