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30 years of saving young lives – keeping families together

Since 1988, we’ve been raising money and funding vital research to save the lives of children with cancer and keep families together.

View our 30th Anniversary photos

30 years of saving young lives

Over the last 30 years you’ve helped us to fund over 200 research projects, helping to improve survival rates for children with cancer and improve the treatments they receive.

You’ve helped us to fund research centres and respite homes across the country and provide special days out to bring some joy to children and families during the trials of treatment.

Please take a look at this short video to see how we began and how you’ve helped.

Why we began

In February 1987, leukaemia claimed the life of 14-year-old Paul O’Gorman. Just nine months later, another devastating blow struck the family when Paul’s sister, Jean, was also killed by cancer.

In November 1987, just days after Jean’s death, their parents, Eddie and Marion O’Gorman, met Diana, Princess of Wales. Deeply moved by the double tragedy, she personally helped to establish this charity.

Their legacy
Always a caring boy, Paul asked his parents to promise to help other children with leukaemia. Within weeks of his death, Eddie and Marion started fundraising.

Paul and Jean continue to inspire us. What started as a small memorial foundation is now Britain’s leading charity dedicated to the conquest of childhood cancer through pioneering research, new treatment and support of children with cancer and their families.

Read more about how we began  Read more about Princess Diana’s support

BBC Radio 4 appeal

Kaye Wragg, popular actress and star of Holby City, makes an appeal on our behalf on BBC Radio 4. Kaye’s daughter, Matilda, was diagnosed with a brain tumour when she was just five years old.

“I’m very proud to say five years on Matilda is now a national gymnastics champion. But not a day goes by when I don’t think about childhood cancer, Matilda and all the other families we met.”

Please listen to Kaye’s BBC Radio 4 Appeal to hear Matilda’s story.

Listen to Kaye’s BBC Radio 4 appeal    Read Matilda’s story

Cancer affects all the family

Jemma was 10 months old when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL).

Jemma’s mum, Michelle, wants to share her family’s story to help spread awareness of childhood cancer. She hopes that one day no family need go through the trauma that still lives with her family.

Although Jemma was diagnosed back in 2003, I don’t think we can ever go back to being the family we were before Jemma got sick.

I have a very vivid hospital memory – all the alarms were going off on the ward and the nurses told us to stay in our room. A child had stopped breathing. All the families just waited and hoped. It was OK, the child came through. The scare really brought it home to all of us just how dangerous leukaemia is.

The lasting feeling for me is that I will never know whether Jemma is really OK. The dosage of chemotherapy she had as such a tiny baby means no one can know for sure what the long term damage could be.

The long term effects on a family – well – I just don’t quite know how long they will be with us.

What I do know is that Jemma is still with us because of the developments in medical research and for that my family is sincerely grateful.

Read Jemma’s story

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