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Candlelighters: Support Families Facing Children's Cancer

candlelight’s charity event in hospital
May 2022
Reading time 3 Minutes

As featured in issue one (2010)

Leeds-based Candlelighters was our first ever Changing Lives charity in Yorkshire. We spoke to them in 2010 about their brilliant work fighting children’s cancer. Just 12 years on, this charity has grown immensely, continuing to support families with a range of services, including providing emotional support, therapy sessions, financial support, and most importantly hope. We spoke with Head of Engagement Caroline Gill to learn more.
A woman wearing pink cutting an opening ribbon

‘Candlelighters has developed hugely since 2010. Back then, there were just two full time staff based at Leeds St James’ Hospital, providing support with financial grants, holidays, funded roles and family groups,’ Caroline explains. ‘Since then, Candlelighters has moved to its own premises, The Square, providing a huge range of emotional, practical and financial support from its own family support team, as well as funding numerous roles across the NHS. It has its own home-fromhome accommodation, The Cottage, giving families on the oncology wards somewhere to stay whilst their child is receiving treatment. The charity has expanded its support out into the communities across Yorkshire, taking its services out to families where they live, breaking down barriers for them to receive vital support.

‘Candlelighters has also continued to invest heavily in vital research, including developing the Candlelighters Fellowship, which gives doctors the chance to pursue a career in research, and is helping to maintain the great reputation that the county has for important lifechanging medical research.’

This growth was inevitable when pairing together the hard working staff and the generous people of Yorkshire, racking up some serious achievements along the way.

‘Over the last 10 years, Candlelighters has raised £17.1 million which has been used to progress our mission and vision, enabling the charity to expand its services significantly – supporting families right across Yorkshire both in hospital and back at home,’ Caroline explains. ‘The charity would not have the success today without the support of the countless businesses, shops, cafés, hairdressers, schools and people of Yorkshire.

‘The charity would not have the success today without the support of the countless businesses, shops, cafés, hairdressers, schools and people of Yorkshire'

‘In 2021 we provided circa 2,300 pieces of support to almost 800bchildren and their families,’ Caroline continues. ‘This included over 600 financial grants, 380 talking therapies, 330 wellbeing appointments and almost 900 attendances at the support groups, events and trips we ran throughout the year. On top of this was the hundreds of hours of support given in hospital to families from our family support workers.’

The achievements don’t stop there – since 2010 Candlelighters have invested £4 million in research to improve outcomes for children with cancer, funding Dr Bob Philips and Dr Jess Morgan for a 10-year period at The University of York in which they researched a feverish side effect of cancer called ‘febrile fever’. The result of this research is estimated to save the NHS £6 million a year, as well as allowing children to leave hospital earlier, vastly improving their mental health.

Candlelighters’ success has been manifold over the last 12 years, but now is not the time to hit the brakes. So they can continue the vital work they do, Candlelighters welcomes all support from the public in their various charity events, donation portals and fundraising to help reach their 2022 target of £1.55 million

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