CBBC and The Baby Club Presenter Nigel Clarke hosted the Christmas event, from 12-2pm, which included a meal and entertainment, such as face painting, balloon making, and of course presents from Father Christmas.
One of the children in attendance was cancer survivor Vega, 10, from south London. Vega was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) in 2012, aged three, and finished treatment in 2014. Despite being five years in remission, Vega still suffers from after effects of cancer treatment.
Vega’s mum, Kathi Palitz, says:
Although Vega has completed her treatment and is now better, the side effects of cancer treatment do linger so events like these are very important; they allow our family to make happy memories and forget about the impact of cancer.
We attended a number of these events hosted by Children with Cancer UK when Vega was going through her treatment and it was comforting to speak to families with children that were better. Now we hope we can provide that same hope and comfort to families currently undergoing treatment.
Another special guest was Lily, 3, from Hertfordshire, who has a brain tumour and will be having treatment over the Christmas period. She was diagnosed aged just one and had completed treatment this May when her tumour grew again. She is now facing a further year of treatment.
Lily’s mum, Lianna Betts, says:
Because of Lily’s condition, we find it very hard to think about Christmas or make any plans. We don’t know what Lily’s health will be like, whether we’ll be in a hospital room, or celebrating with family. Cancer consumes everything in your life. I look forward to one day having a Christmas that doesn’t revolve around cancer and the stress and worry that comes with it.
This event was a chance for Lily to enjoy the festivities of Christmas like every child deserves and for us to have a much-needed break from hospital appointments and treatment as well as meet other families affected by childhood cancer.
The charity is also hosting a ‘Breakfast with Santa’ Christmas event in Manchester on 15 December. These events aim to ease the burden of cancer at Christmas time and give families a chance to form support networks with other oncology families.
To support families affected by childhood cancer this Christmas,to Children with Cancer UK’s Christmas appeal.