Lennox Children’s Cancer Fund has been supporting families of children with cancer across the UK for over 25 years. Childhood cancer is rare – diagnoses make up less than 0.5% of all cancer cases in the UK, but this statistic makes it no less traumatic for every one of the families affected.
Around 1,700 children in the UK, under the age of 16, will be diagnosed with cancer each year – that’s nearly five every day. Up until the moment of diagnosis, they were a ’normal’ child, leading a ‘normal’ lifestyle – cheeky, loving and playful. Then, all of a sudden, their lives and the lives of their families are thrown into total disarray.
We are here to help support these families through our three main projects: Care Grants providing financial support, Respite Breaks providing free breaks for families at our UK holiday homes, and our Emotional Support service which is available to any family member.
Even as a small charity we are approached for help by hundreds of families every year who are suffering from the financial side effects of a childhood cancer diagnosis. The additional costs of travelling and parking at hospital, buying new clothes for children whose treatment has caused them to drastically gain or lose weight, or even new equipment or alterations needed at home can increase outgoings by an average of £600 every month. Add to this the fact that, in nearly half of cases, at least one parent has to give up work to look after their child full time, resulting in a loss of income, and you can see why so many families need our support.
One of these families is Ajooni’s family. Ajooni was diagnosed with leukaemia in May 2018 at the age of just two and is mid-way through a two-year treatment programme. She has been a poor eater since January 2018, and meal times have only become tougher since chemotherapy has affected her taste buds and left her with low appetite. Ajooni’s parents were concerned that this was causing a lack of vital nutrients in her diet and was recommended a slow masticating juicer. Unlike regular juicers on the market, these retain more of the nutrients and fibre from the fruit and vegetables, providing much more vital nourishment from the limited amounts Ajooni is able to eat. Unfortunately, these juicers are also much more expensive.
Up until Ajooni’s diagnosis, her mum had been employed full time but has had to take a year’s leave without pay to look after her daughter, and Dad had started his new business just weeks before her diagnosis.
With a grant from Lennox Children’s Cancer Fund, they were able to buy the juicer Ajooni so badly needed, without worrying about needing that same money to pay other important bills. Since then Ajooni has already gained her first kilogram in weight, is beginning to eat better and is looking forward to going to school like a big girl, just like her sister.