We are delighted to have received a grant of £2,000 from The Susie P Charitable Foundation, who are a continued supporter of Candlelighters.
This grant will provide a Candlelighters Christmas Grant for 20 families. We know how difficult this year has been for many of our families and how this year more than ever, Christmas Grants will be so important.
Financial uncertainty can increase pressure on what can already be a strained family unit, as many of our families face sustained loss of earnings, mounting costs and concerns over job security as a result of their child’s diagnosis – all heightened by the impact of COVID-19. This year, in particular, these grants will be so important to our families, whether they use them to put food on the table at home, or provide some extra gifts and treats for a child on the ward.
Facing a diagnosis of childhood cancer is unimaginably difficult at any time, but as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions, it has been even harder for families during recent months. Laura is Mum to two-year-old Hattie, who was diagnosed with a mediastinal (chest) germ cell tumour in May 2020.
‘Symptoms began to show around 2-3 weeks before Hattie’s diagnosis. She had temperatures similar to that shown when teething or with a viral infection. When they continued for longer than two weeks and Hattie began to lack energy and lose weight quite quickly, we took her to the doctors to be checked over.
She was initially given antibiotics for a mild chest infection. After four days of antibiotics, no change to symptoms and another trip to the doctors, we were sent to A&E as a precaution to have a full check-over. It was here that we discovered Hattie’s tumour, after X-rays and ultrasounds by the amazing doctors and nurses at the LGI. Hattie’s tumour was pressing on her heart and she became really unwell, quite rapidly.
She was diagnosed on the Tuesday and was receiving emergency chemotherapy by the Friday. She is undergoing six rounds of chemotherapy and this will most likely be followed by surgery. She is reacting really well to the treatment and taking it all in her stride – a real-life superstar.
A shock diagnosis for any parent is always difficult and a feeling that can’t be explained but this was made even harder in the middle of lockdown, with only one parent allowed to stay with Hattie. We also have a four-year-old daughter who was unable to see her sister throughout her stay in hospital.‘
With this support from The Susie P Charitable Foundation, we can ensure 20 families just like Hattie’s are not facing this time alone, and make this incredibly difficult time a little easier.
The Susie P Charitable Foundation was set up in 2007 by Ian Pruchniewicz. It was in May of that year that Ian’s wife, Susan, died of metastatic liver cancer. ?During Susie’s two year battle with the illness, she spent many hours in hospital having chemotherapy treatment. During these visits, she would occasionally see young children being treated for cancer and she would be very upset at seeing this situation. As she told her husband Ian ‘I have had a good and happy life, but these children have only just begun life’s journey and need to be helped get through this difficult illness to be able to fulfil their potential in this world‘.
Ian decided to use funds that were part of Susie’s estate to create The Susie P Charitable Foundation, with the specific objective to support children with cancer in the West Yorkshire area.
Since then, the Foundation has continued to champion this cause and has supported Candlelighters previously – funding family holidays for those who are facing childhood cancer, enabling them to enjoy quality time together and to make special lasting memories, as well as helping to furnish The Candlelighters Cottage in 2017.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to Ian, and all at The Susie P Charitable Foundation for their continued support and for helping us to keep our candle burning, bringing light to families in these darkest of times.