First success for EADT appeal

By Katy EdwardsA CHARITY is celebrating today after kind-hearted EADT readers raised enough money to fund a play specialist to help children suffering from cancer and leukaemia.

By Katy Edwards

A CHARITY is celebrating today after kind-hearted EADT readers raised enough money to fund a play specialist to help children suffering from cancer and leukaemia.

The East Anglian Daily Times' CLIC into Action appeal has raised £18,000 to fund a play specialist post at the regional cancer centre at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

Carol Garner, who currently holds the post, said it was "wonderful news" that CLIC into Action had secured her post for the coming year.

"We try to make life as normal as possible for children going through frightening procedures which would otherwise be quite traumatising. It is lovely seeing them come back again, well and happy and leading normal lives," she added

Tina Sievewright, mother of eight-year-old Ben, who has just finished chemotherapy for a malignant brain tumour (medullablastoma), said her son would never have got through treatment had it not been for Carol.

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The Sievewrights, who live in Bourn in Cambridgeshire, are now hoping for a clean bill of health for Ben until the youngster is 13 years old, when he will be given the all-clear.

"We found he was needle-phobic, which could have been a nightmare if it hadn't been for Carol," said Mrs Sievewright.

"It would have put much more strain on me and my husband. She was with us every step of the way. She is fantastic, all the children know her by name. It is wonderful news that CLIC into Action has reached £18,000."

Rachel Pennick, mother of 17-month-old George, who was born with tumours in both eyes, added: "Play specialists have such an important role in helping children who are going into theatre or having lines put in.

"By showing children through play what will happen to them, they can help them feel less frightened of the equipment. When George first had his eye drops he was fine because he had seen them given in play."

George, who lives in Martlesham, began chemotherapy when he was just under a month old to prevent the hereditary tumours from destroying his sight.

His right eye was worst affected as the tumours had damaged the retina, but he now has some vision in both eyes. The youngster undergoes frequent health checks to ensure the cancers have not grown any larger.

"He is playing and developing normally, but we will wait and see what they say next month," said Mrs Pennick.

The EADT joined forces with the charity Cancer and Leukaemia in Childhood to launch an appeal to ensure hundreds of young cancer sufferers across the region had access to the best possible support as they fought the disease.

It aimed to do this by raising £50,000 to help fund a children's cancer nurse and a play specialist for East Anglia.

CLIC fundraiser Michelle Gray said: "Play specialists have an extremely difficult job – that is to become a trusted friend to the children and young people at what is an extremely difficult and frightening period in their lives.

"Carol Garner, at Addenbrooke's Hospital, is absolutely fantastic. Her kindness and honesty is of vital importance, which helps the younger children and teenagers come to terms with their illness.

"CLIC and the children in East Anglia, are very fortunate to have access to such a wonderful service, which has been made possible directly as a result of the kindness and generosity of the East Anglian Daily Times readers."

n Donations for the CLIC into Action appeal can be made by credit or debit card to the donation line on 0800 1383810 or by cheque, payable to CLIC into Action, sent to CLIC, 8 Wren Close, Thurston, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP313TQ, or to any EADT offices

Cheques can also be paid direct into any branch of Lloyds TSB, quoting CLIC into Action, sort code 30-00-01, account number 02693685.

Donations can be made via the CLIC website at quoting ref. CIA.The CLIC registered charity number is 802396.

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