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

NHS Charities Together Grant
30-12-21Our stories • Posted by Becky Pearey
We are pleased to announce that Candlelighters were recently given the opportunity to apply for, and were successful in receiving a grant from NHS Charities Together to help fund our Community Support Team. As a charity we rely on donations from supporters and grants from trusts, foundations and institutes such as NHS Charities Together. NHS …
Company of the Month… My Energy Grants!
21-12-21Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
We’re pleased to announce our Company of the Month for November 2021 is My Energy Grants! The Barnsley based company first began supporting Candlelighters earlier this year, deciding to become a member of Club Candlelighters. My Energy Grants joined Club Candlelighters as Transformers – pledging to donate £25,000 every year for three years, helping to …
The PantherCub Study
10-12-21Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
At Candlelighters, we’ve been funding childhood cancer research for over three decades, investing over £9 million in the last 20 years alone to help improve treatments and find cures. Dr Bob Phillips is an Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Oncology at Leeds Children’s Hospital and Senior Clinical Academic at the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University …
Eckersley House Cheque Presentation
23-11-21Our stories • Posted by Becky Pearey
We are delighted to announce that Candlelighters has granted £15,000 to The Sick Children’s Trust for essential running costs of Eckersley House, a home from home accommodation opposite the Clarendon Wing. As one of only 21 Principal Treatment Centres for children’s cancer in the UK and only two in Yorkshire, we know that many children …
Company of the Month… Maths Made Easy!
23-11-21Our stories • Posted by Becky Pearey
We’re so excited to announce our October Company of the Month as the amazing Maths Made Easy! Earlier in 2021, Maths Made Easy chose Candlelighters as their Charity of the Year, and in July, an army of fundraisers from Maths Made Easy also took part in Total Warrior for us! Raising a fantastic amount of …
Young Dreamers Dream Big for Candlelighters
22-11-21Our stories • Posted by Becky Pearey
Over 45 years Candlelighters have continually evolved to provide superb support for children and their families, spanning emotional, practical and financial support, and investment in vital childhood cancer research. Candlelighters strive to embed the needs and wants of children at a strategic level, ensuring our support is the best it possibly can be and that …
Company of the Month… Thai Leisure Group!
25-10-21Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
We’re overjoyed to announce our September Company of the Month as the fabulous Thai Leisure Group! With Thai Leisure Group, who own Chaophraya, Thaikhun, Yee Rah and ChaoBaby restaurants across the country, launching a ‘Charity of the Quarter’ initiative, we were incredibly grateful to be chosen as the first charity to be supported earlier this …
Memories of Candlelighters: Amy
07-10-21Our stories • Posted by Becky Pearey
As we celebrate our 45th birthday this year, we’ve been talking to people with memories of Candlelighters through the years. Amy, now 38, from Wakefield, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 1995, aged 12. Amy particularly remembers some of the events and holidays provided by Candlelighters when she was on treatment, as well as …
Candlelighters at UoL Fertility Research
27-09-21Our stories • Posted by Becky Pearey
We are excited to share the results of a new piece of research by Candlelighters undertaken at the University of Leeds. As well as supporting families daily through childhood cancer, we bring hope by investing in vital research to improve the outcomes and lives of children with cancer. For nearly 40 years we have invested …

Your stories

#TeamElliot raise over £6000 for Candlelighters!
30-12-21Your stories • Posted by Becky Pearey
If you’ve been following us for a while, you might be familiar with Elliot Gunn, founder of the #TeamElliot fundraising group. This year, Elliot became one of the youngest in the country to complete the Yorkshire Three Peaks, aged eight, in aid of Candlelighters. Throughout last year, Elliot and the rest of the team of …