TWO children’s cancer charities have combined and launched as Children’s Cancer North.
Formerly the North of England Children’s Cancer Research and Children’s Cancer Fund, the charities have collectively raised £40m since 1979 to fund vital research, trials and treatment, raise awareness and provide support, activities and more to young patients on cancer wards at the Great North Children’s Hospital.
The launch will give the opportunity for the charity to be more efficient, have a bigger voice and do more to improve the lives of children and young people living with cancer across the region. Children from across the North, from Cumbria, Teesside, County Durham, Tyne and Wear and Northumberland, all travel to the Great North Children’s Hospital for their cancer treatment.
To mark the launch of Children’s Cancer North, the charity has collaborated with Jenny Pearson, a celebrated children’s author based in the North East, who has created a new poem with 5 children aged 8-12; Mia, Holly, Ruby, Ethan and Caroline, who have received or are receiving ongoing cancer treatment.
Entitled, ‘The Bell’, the poem explores the mixed emotions of ending treatment from the perspective of a young cancer survivor and what it means to have hope once again.
Pearson, who is a primary school teacher by day and has released two highly-acclaimed children’s books to date, including The Times’ Children’s Book of the Week, said:
“I’m delighted to be involved with the launch of Children’s Cancer North.
“Conversations with the children in a digital workshop we ran highlighted that cancer treatment can bring about an enormous range of feelings and emotions, and we felt this poem really captures the complexity of that whilst celebrating the incredible work of the charity. I’m so pleased I was able to help out and help these amazing young people and their parents share their story.”
Chris Peacock, Chairman of Children’s Cancer North, spoke of the new identity and mission for the charity, saying:
“As a childhood cancer survivor myself, I know first-hand how difficult life is both as a patient and for parents and siblings. It is what drives the charity and me to make life better for those going through now what my family and I did 40 years ago.
“In the North East and Cumbria, around 100 children are diagnosed with some form of cancer every year. Thanks to pioneering research, access to early trials and new drugs, and the outstanding care delivered at the Great North Children’s Hospital, around 8 out of 10 survive. We want to make that 10 out of 10.
“We have ambitious plans ahead as Children’s Cancer North and are fortunate to have an incredible team of supporters and fundraisers to help us achieve these goals, but the pandemic has caused obvious challenges, and we want to double down on fundraising so we can help more children survive cancer and keep families together for longer.”
Professor Steve Clifford, Director of Newcastle University Centre for Cancer, spoke of the impact of the work being funded by Children’s Cancer North, saying:
“Over 80% of children with cancer now survive their disease, and Newcastle’s research team has been integral to these advances. Our team has grown from small enthusiastic beginnings to a body of experts of over 100 researchers and specialists, leading the way nationally and internationally.
“Our ongoing focus is to continue to find new cures and to develop kinder, more effective treatments.”
The charity has also hidden 101 bells around the North East and Cumbria to signify the 101 children diagnosed with some form of cancer in 2020. Children’s Cancer North is encouraging anyone who finds a bell to post a picture on social media, then rehide for someone else to find and do the same. The campaign has been shared by Vicky Pattison and a number of high-profile sports personalities so far, along with many other people from across the region.
The charity’s first target as Children’s Cancer North is to launch fundraising to recoup losses – estimated at around 60% of revenue – caused by the pandemic, as well as aiming to raise £2million in three years, which will contribute to funding revolutionary research and transforming the children’s cancer wards at the Great North Children’s Hospital to bring the latest technology and interactive play areas to help make life easier for those going through the toughest of times.
This Autumn will also see the return of their much-loved Children’s Cancer Run, a key event in the charity’s fundraising calendar, which had to be cancelled for 2020.
Children’s Cancer North has launched a new website. It will be announcing fundraising initiatives over the coming months to enable individuals and businesses to get involved with helping make life better for children with cancer.