The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust gives huge boost to St James’s appeal

27 August 2014

The appeal to create a teenage chillout space for patients using the paediatric radiotherapy department in the Bexley Wing at St James's University Hospital in Leeds has got a huge boost from a Huddersfield-based youth cancer charity.

The Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust have generously agreed to match fund every pound raised, up to £20,000, to help achieve the £40,000 appeal target.

So far the appeal has collected more than £13,000 since it was launched in May. To formalise the partnership, former Leeds Rhinos star Keith Senior, an ambassador for the Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust, visited St James’s to see the work of the department and to hand over a cheque for £13,000 from the Trust for their promised matched funding.

The Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust has pledged a further £10,000 to the appeal to ensure the Chillout space and treatment room are suitably kitted out and ready for use.

Coincidentally, Keith also knows young rugby player James Brook, aged 18, who is the face who originally launched the Appeal.   Keith coached James during his time with the Leeds Rhinos Scholarship under 15s.  James has been undergoing cancer treatment at the hospital and regularly uses the department.

The paediatric radiotherapy team based at St James’s see and treat between 70 and 100 young patients of all ages from around the Yorkshire region every year.

While they have tried hard to make the department as child-friendly and welcoming as possible, they now want to make a special effort to meet the needs of teenagers. They and have identified an empty space close to their department which they want to convert into a teenage chillout zone and treatment area away from younger children.

Pam Thornes, Trust Manager for the Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust, commented; “As soon as we heard about the teenage appeal we realised it fitted perfectly with our aim to improve facilities and the experience of young people with cancer.

We got in touch with the radiography team to find out more and we were thrilled to come on board with our pledge to give a pound for every pound the appeal raises."

Children's radiographer Lucy Hume added: “We were delighted to be contacted by the Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust and were absolutely overwhelmed when we heard of their generous funding offer which will make such a difference to getting the project off the ground earlier than planned.

"We are now having a final fundraising push with our friends and supporters the incentive of knowing everything they raised will be doubled is a real boost and will mean we can create something really special. We are now hoping we might be able to get building work underway soon and completed by Christmas."

The children’s radiotherapy team have a Facebook page supporting the appeal and are encouraging people to text a donation to 70070 using PTYA51 £5.

TheLaura Crane Youth Cancer Trust is based in Huddersfield and was founded in 1996. It supports many hospitals across the UK delivering cancer treatment, including St James's University Hospital and Leeds General Infirmary. It has provided around £150,000 to support services and research helping young people with cancer treated in Leeds over the past few years.

Teenagers are an age group onto themselves and require occupational and social activities to help keep up their motivation, which is so desperately needed to fight their illness and cope with the harsh regimes of treatment and the isolation from school, friends and family that it brings.

The Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust is the only UK charity funding medical research specifically into cancer affecting teenagers and young adults, where it can frequently strike in dangerous and complex forms.  The Trust also funds measures to improve the quality of life for young cancer patients, both during and in the aftermath of their illnesses.  Support is offered to all of the hospitals throughout the UK which treat teenage cancer.