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Over 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.

Towards the end of this 30th year,  we were proud to share with you the news that our Founder and  Chairman, Eddie O’Gorman OBE, had received the 2018 Pride of Britain Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Video - 30 years of saving young lives

Over the more than 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

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

Keeping families together - video

Our goal is a world where no child dies from cancer.  Since 1988, with your help, we’ve been working to improve survival rates and the quality of survival in young cancer patients. Great progress has been made and together we’ve helped drive childhood cancer survival rates up from 64% to 84%. Today, children with cancer are ringing The End of Treatment Bell to mark a huge milestone in their lives – the end of their cancer treatment. We’re delighted to share with you our new animated video, that helps to explain our work over the last 30 years and our vision of a world where no child dies of cancer.

Laraib's story

Can you imagine what it’s like to be a child living with cancer? Through a series of short videos, 10 year old Laraib shows us a 24-hour window into her life.

It’s hard to believe what this young girl is dealing with on a daily basis.

Here, in this short video, you can watch Laraib tell you how her day starts.  To see the rest of her day, watch Laraib’s series of short videos explaining 24 hours in the life of a child with cancer!

24 hours in the life of a child with cancer


Funding children's cancer centres of excellence

Laraib was treated at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where we’ve donated £1 million to build a new cancer unit and upgrade the existing facilities and quality of care. For over 30 years  you’ve been helping us to develop children’s cancer centres of excellence around the UK.

Our first task as a new charity back in 1988 was to raise £2 million to establish a new leukaemia research centre at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Since then, we have helped to develop further centres of excellence around the UK – including centres in Glasgow, Manchester, Bristol and Newcastle.

Research facilities you’ve helped to fund

two kids hugging

Understanding the genetics of paediatric glioblastoma

International collaboration is often the best way to approach difficult research problems, and this is how we’re searching ...

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Using international teamwork to treat brain tumours

One of the most challenging brain tumours to treat is called ependymoma. A unique partnership called BIOMECA is ...

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two kids hugging

Get Involved Stories – Seven ways you can help

Advice from Natasha, mum to Sebastian, who was diagnosed with cancer of the bowel at 18 months old.
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