CLIC (Cancer and Leukaemia In Childhood)

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Originally published in January 2003 icon


CLIC stands for Cancer and Leukaemia in Childhood, but it’s best summed up by another acronym - TLC, which it delivers not only to all young sufferers, but their families too. Specialist nursing care, homes-from-home close to hospital, financial assistance and research support all fall within this charity’s all-embracing remit. Five children or teenagers are diagnosed with cancer or leukaemia every day in the UK. CLIC’s objective is to help them and their families lead their lives as normally as possible and also to relieve anguish by offering optimum support and information.

When baby Brogane Young was diagnosed with leukaemia, her shocked mother Sharon spent three wakeful nights on the ward of York Hill Hospital Glasgow, not wanting to leave her three-month-old daughter. A nurse then told her about Cruachan House - a CLIC home just five minutes from Brogane’s bedside where Sharon could stay, for free, as long as she wanted. "The experience and support that comes from living in the house" says Sharon "has really helped me come to terms with what has happened and how to get through it."

Open quotesShe’s a good friend as well as a nurseClose quotes


Fourteen-year-old Fred (whose malignant brain tumour was diagnosed in December 2000) says specialist CLIC nurse Lesley Manning has been "great" to have around not only as a regular home visitor but also for essential teen text-messaging. "She’s a good friend as well as a nurse’ says Fred "and I can talk to her about my illness without feeling uncomfortable. She understands exactly what I’m going through."


For toddlers like Alex Bayliss, play specialist Carol Leach turns scary hospital experiences into fun: "When Alex had the line through which chemotherapy is delivered inserted into his chest" says mum Toni Bayliss, "Carol introduced it as Mr Wiggly, his new friend, and within a matter of minutes that’s exactly what Mr Wiggly had become. Her tactic is different for every child. But she makes the children feel normal and does everything she can to keep them smiling.

Testimonies like these are just what CLIC’s more than 40 nurses and 10 play specialists like to hear. It’s the ultimate reward for cause-committed staff like Felicity Hanley, project manager of the newly-opened Sam’s House, for parents of children receiving bone marrow in Bristol. Felicity delayed her honeymoon and retirement to see the project through. This level of dedication has over 26 years transformed CLIC from a small, south-western fund-raising group with vision into one of Britain’s flagship children’s charities. Launched by Robert Woodward when his son Robert contracted cancer, CLIC went on to introduce and fund the country’s first dedicated Chair in Paediatric Oncology. At the grass roots, by contrast, it provides care grants to several hundred families who, every year shoulder unexpected extra household costs, require specially adapted play equipment or desperately need a short respite holiday at one of two CLIC flats in Sidmouth, Devon.

Open quotesThe CLIC cause touches hearts all across the countryClose quotes


The CLIC cause touches hearts all across the country - The Duchess of Kent heads a glitzy list of patrons including Gary Lineker, Barry McGuigan and royal wedding frockmaker, David Emanuel. Last year, Ryan Giggs, Kirsty Young and Jensen Button danced at CLIC’s Grand Prix Ball near Silverstone, comedian Jim Davidson staged a fundraiser in Aberdeen, Will Carling, Dennis Waterman and jeweller Theo Fennell supported the annual charity golf day. Bristol Airport chose CLIC as their collection-box beneficiaries of 2002. Veuve Clicquot have adopted CLIC as their charity of 2003 and IKEA designed and equipped two playrooms for Sam’s House.


Compassion for the CLIC cause produced a f5.8m income in 2001, but need grows with its vision. Sam’s House alone costs 100,000 to run each year and besides two other CLIC houses in Bristol, they are also up and running in Oxford, Glasgow, Southampton and Edinburgh. This March a new CLIC Sm appeal focuses on a Home from Home for the families of children travelling from all over the country (including Belfast) for treatment at the Middlesex Hospital in Central London. The Middlesex is a specialist centre for adolescent tumours, but at present young patients’ parents have either to pay for hotel accommodation, or stay in designated single-sex wards with only a curtain round the bed for privacy and peace. Young patients well enough to be treated as day patients, will be able to live with their parents in the projected CLIC house (as they can elsewhere). There will be cooking and laundry facilities as well as a teenagers private den with its own key and adult ban! CLIC changes lives for those touched by cancer in ways that work not only for, but alongside, modern medicine.

Donations and offers of support to:
Address: CLIC, Abbey Wood, Bristol BS34 7JU
Tel: 0117 311 2600

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