Families affected by childhood cancer enjoy ‘pawfect’ evening at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

Children affected by cancer enjoyed a heart-warming event with furry friends and famous faces at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in a special Christmas evening organised by Children with Cancer UK. 

During the event on 22 November 2023, 14 children who have experienced cancer, along with their siblings and families, were able to meet a number of Battersea’s animal residents, including dog Dash and 4-week-old kittens, Esther and Polly, and even watch some of the dogs proudly show off skills they have recently learnt, such as ‘drop it’ and ‘sit’.

Guests were able to meet one of Britain’s best-loved children’s authors and Ambassador for Battersea, Dame Jacqueline Wilson, who was in attendance to meet the children and sign their books. Jacqueline, who rehomed cat Jacob and dog Jackson from Battersea before becoming an Ambassador for the charity, spoke to the children about how she creates ideas for her iconic books, and provided tips to the youngsters on how to write their very own stories. Fashion model, clothing brand founder and Battersea Ambassador, David Gandy also attended the evening with his dog Dora who he rehomed from Battersea.

What’s more, families were also able to decorate their very own festive-themed biscuits under the expert guidance of The Great British Bake Off 2018 finalist, Ruby Bhogal.

Interacting with animals has been proven to reduce stress and provide a source of happiness and well-being for people of all ages. Whether it’s the wagging tail of a dog or the gentle purring of a cat, animals bring joy to people’s lives through their playful companionship and unconditional love.


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One of the young guests in attendance was 9-year-old Seb Stevens, who was diagnosed and underwent treatment for prostate and bladder cancer when he was just 18-months-old. His mother, Natasha, commented:

The event was magical – Seb had an incredible time meeting all the animals and also seeing friends he has made from previous Children with Cancer UK events. As a family, Battersea has a very special place in our hearts as we have rescued three cats from the charity over the years, so it was wonderful to visit again together and experience all the special activities the charities had arranged for us to enjoy.

Jo Elvin, CEO of Children with Cancer UK, said:

This festive season, our events are designed to help families experience the joy of Christmas, free from hospital visits and treatments, to help ease the burden of cancer and give children and their families the opportunity to share their stories and form support networks with others. As a charity, our aim is to help increase awareness and understanding of childhood cancer, fund vital research into better and kinder treatments and provide support for children and their families through treatment and beyond, so we’d like to thank Battersea for helping us create unforgettable memories that the children and their families will forever cherish.

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Peter Laurie, Chief Executive for Battersea, said:

Supporting the work that Children with Cancer UK undertake, and to host such a heart-warming event for the children to meet some of the animals in our care, has been truly special. Helping to spread some happiness and cheer, especially at this time of year, and to help create memories for families to share has been very special.

David Gandy, Ambassador for Battersea, said:

As an Ambassador for Battersea, with my own rescue dog, Dora, and dad to two daughters, I know only too well the joy and happiness that rescue animals can bring. It’s been an honour to have the chance to spend time with such inspirational young people and share this special evening with them and their families.

For further details on Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, head to www.battersea.org.uk.

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