As many as 150 children and young people with cancer will receive help and support thanks to a grant of £74,000 from Cambridgeshire Freemasons to the Young Lives vs Cancer charity.
The grant will fund a specialist social worker based at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge as they provide a tailored package of emotional, practical and financial support to young cancer patients and their families. Their support will help young people and families overcome the challenges and fears they face during treatment and beyond. Young Lives vs Cancer social workers are there from the point of diagnosis to offer practical support and advice whether it’s about school, relationships, mental health or life with cancer in general.
Young Lives vs Cancer supports children and young people across the East of England including Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk, who have been diagnosed with cancer and being treated at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.
Bradley Willcox, 22 from Norwich, has been supported by the charity since he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in October 2020. His Young Lives vs Cancer social worker, Rich, was there for him every step of the way, to face both the emotional and financial impact of a cancer diagnosis.
He said: “Rich was available for me to have text and call conversations with and he helped me access grants and other facilities to ensure that all my needs were met and went above and beyond to take on anything he could to make my experience more comfortable.
“He always made me feel comfortable when asking for help which is something I’ve always struggled with.”
Every year, around 300 children and young people, from new born babies through to those aged up to 25 years, across the East of England will hear the life-changing news they have cancer. When a child or young person hears this, everything changes. Treatment often starts straightaway and can last up to three years. It can be a scary and isolating experience for anyone, at any age, but for a child or young person it can have a significant impact on their education, social development and future prospects.
Cancer also impacts on more than just a child’s physical health but their mental health as well. Coping with the news of cancer and dealing with the side effects of treatment (such as feeling exhausted, weight loss/gain, losing hair) can have a detrimental effect upon their confidence and self-esteem, which we know can lead to mental health issues, including anxiety and depression.
There is a financial impact of cancer that families that have to cope with. Many highlight that the additional costs of travel, food and accommodation to attend hospital appointments, can cause them further anxiety and financial worry at a time when they just want to be there for their child.
The grant from Cambridgeshire Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
Julie Millar, Head of High Value Fundraising at Young Lives vs Cancer, said:
“We’re very grateful to Cambridgeshire Freemasons for their generous grant, which will make a huge difference to local children and young people with a cancer diagnosis. Whether it’s emotional support to them and their families, helping them to access essential benefits or making sure they continue their education during treatment, there is so much that can be done to make their lives better.”
Bill Dastur, Provincial Grand Master of Cambridgeshire Freemasons, said:
“I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help Young Lives vs Cancer with their excellent project to help children and young people with cancer. There is so much that can be done to help them and their families as they undergo treatment, not least helping them to keep up with their schoolwork. This wonderful charity is helping to treat the patient and the family, not just the disease.”
Notes to editors
Photo: (L-R) Social worker Rich and Bradley Wilcox meet with Bill Dastur
About cancer in children and young people
Today, 12 more children and young people in the UK will hear the devastating news that they have cancer. Treatment normally starts immediately, is often given many miles from home and can last for up to three years. Although survival rates are over 80%, cancer remains the single largest cause of death from disease in children and young people in the UK.
About Young Lives vs Cancer
When a child is diagnosed with cancer life becomes full of fear, for them and their family. Fear of treatment but also of families being torn apart, overwhelming money worries, of having nowhere to turn to, no one to talk to.
Young Lives vs Cancer is the charity that helps children and young people (0-25) and their families find the strength to face whatever cancer throws at them. The charity’s social workers offer specialist, empowering support, its Homes from Home offer families a free place to stay nearby to the child’s hospital and grants help families to navigate the costs of cancer. We’ve been there before. We’ll face it all, together.
For more information visit www.younglivesvscancer.org.uk
Note to sub editors
Always use our name in full: Young Lives vs Cancer and write it with only the Y, L and C capitalised. But don't capitalise ‘vs’. ‘Young Lives vs Cancer’ should be not be abbreviated – it’s not “Young Lives” for short, nor “YLvC”
About the Masonic Charitable Foundation
The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) is one of the largest grant-making charities in the country. Funded entirely through the generosity of Freemasons and their families, the MCF awards millions of pounds each year to local and national charities that help vulnerable people, advance medical research and provide opportunities for young people. The MCF also helps to fund vital services such as hospices and air ambulances and regularly contributes to worldwide appeals for disaster relief. In total, MCF support helps to improve the lives of thousands of people every year in England, Wales and internationally. As well as providing grants to charities, the MCF supports Freemasons and their families with a financial, health or family need. Visit www.mcf.org.uk