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… Mowgli!
28-04-22Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
We’re super excited to announce our Company of the Month for March 2022 is Mowgli Street Food! Mowgli started supporting Candlelighters in early 2020 after the opening of their Leeds restaurant. They put in place a cause-related marketing agreement, encouraging customers to add a £1 donation to their bill in support of Candlelighters. This simple …
Company of the Month… Katchr!
24-03-22Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
We’re so pleased to announce that our Company of the Month for February 2022 is Law Firm Business Intelligence Software company, Katchr! Katchr have supported Candlelighters since 2020 and have got involved with a wide range of fundraising activities to help our children and families. Katchr said, ‘Our involvement with Candlelighters started two years ago …
Candlelighters to invest £1m in supportive care research
17-03-22Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
We are thrilled to announce that we’re planning to invest up to £1m to further supportive care research for children and young people with cancer. At Candlelighters, we have been investing in childhood cancer research for over 40 years. When Candlelighters was formed in the 1970s, sadly very few children survived. Now, thanks to scientific …
Company of the Month… Frontline Security Services and Platinum Asset Protection!
25-02-22Our stories • Posted by Becky Pearey
Taking the crown this month is Frontline Security Services and Platinum Asset Protection – two companies owned by Wade Murtaza, who has been supporting Candlelighters for over a decade with cause-related marketing and by donating a percentage of both companies’ end-of-year annual profits. In January 2022, Wade and these two companies made an incredible combined donation of …
Leading the way in childhood cancer research across the country
15-02-22Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
15th February is International Childhood Cancer Day, a global collaborative campaign raising awareness of and expressing support for children and families affected by childhood cancer. On this day, we’re highlighting the importance of investing in research to help these children and families. Around 1,800 children are diagnosed with cancer in the UK every year, with …
Company of the Month… Caddick Group!
01-02-22Our stories • Posted by Becky Pearey
We are delighted to announce that our latest Company of the Month is the fantastic Caddick Group! The Caddick Group started to support Candlelighters back in 2018 in line with their charitable giving priorities of supporting children and young people, as well as those charities helping to fight cancer. Over the course of 2021 Caddick …
A Very Candlelighters Christmas
04-01-22Our stories • Posted by Gaby Stead
As the festive period comes to an end and we enter another New Year, we think it’s important to celebrate some of the things we’ve been able to achieve this Christmas. We know Christmas can be a difficult time for families, filled with many different feelings; our goal always is to ensure children and families …
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 …

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 …