In 2015-17, the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust donated £11,500 towards CLIC Sargent’s Paediatric Oncology Outreach Nurse in Kent.
Children from Kent who require treatment for cancer need to travel to the Royal Marsden Hospital, one of eighteen Principal Treatment Centres in the UK, and the largest specialist paediatric cancer centre in Europe. CLIC Sargent’s Social Care and Nursing Teams support children and families in managing the emotional, practical and financial impact of cancer. One of the ways CLIC Sargent helps is to liaise with Community Nurses when children return home on maintenance treatment, to ensure that they and their parents have all the information and support they need to feel supported and safe.
Among the many young people who have benefited from this support is Harry, who was diagnosed with Leukaemia aged three, and received treatment at the Royal Marsden. Harry’s mum tells their story and how crucial the support of CLIC Sargent was throughout their treatment:
“I don’t know how our CLIC Sargent Social Worker Lucy does it but whenever we’re at the hospital for an appointment she just appears for a chat and to see if she can help at all. She’s offered to help out with grants and things as we’ve had a lot of extra costs as a result of Harry’s illness.
“Life changed so much in just 48-hours. I’d been at work, then I was laying next to my son watching him have a blood transfusion, seeing him have somebody’s else blood put into his little body. Lucy, our CLIC Sargent Social Worker, is really gentle and soft speaking and practical and I don’t know whether she’s trained to speak like that or it’s just her, but it works. The advice she gives you sticks in your head. I can say anything to her, share any worries, and I’m at complete ease. She makes me think the things I need to do without even saying anything.”
CLIC Sargent directly employs social work teams which are based in major hospitals across the UK. This means that, from the moment the doctor says ‘cancer’, families have someone they can turn to for support and advice.
CLIC Sargent also match-funds Specialist Paediatric Oncology Outreach Nurses (SPOONs) in partnership with the NHS. These nurses are based at shared care centres, such as Medway Maritime Hospital and Kent & Canterbury Hospital, helping deliver more outreach work at a child’s school or home. In addition to match-funding SPOONs, CLIC Sargent also supports a number of ‘affiliated nurses’ working in Kent. These ‘affiliated nurses’ are NHS nurses who are given specialist training and resources so that they can develop the skills and knowledge to support young cancer patients. This community team of SPOONs and affiliated Nurses ensure that maintenance treatment can be delivered in a child’s home community rather than forcing Kent families to travel all the way to Sutton or London for regular appointments.
Harry’s mum continues the story: “At the moment we’re mostly at home with far fewer trips to hospital. The community nursing team has been really great. Karen is his main CLIC Sargent nurse. She visits to access the port in his chest to clean it, and checks his blood. She visited his playschool to chat to his keyworker before he went back. Harry was really proud, he led her in and introduced her to everyone.
“My daughter Amelia-Rose is 10 and it’s been difficult for her too. The CLIC Sargent Social Care Team at The Marsden run sibling groups so that she can hang out with other siblings who are going through it. They did a fun day where they got to pretend to be forensic experts and took finger prints. Lucy helped us sort out the disabled blue badge for the car. She also offered to ring my employers to explain what was going on as I needed time off. Lucy is great, they all are.”