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Festive appeal spreads cheer to young cancer patients spending Christmas in a Cardiff hospital

Pam Thornes, Charity Manager at The Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust

Young people aged between 13- and 24-years old spending Christmas in a Cardiff hospital will be given special presents to open on Christmas morning thanks to a nationwide campaign organised by The Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust.

Cancer does not take time off over Christmas and so the charity’s Christmas appeal ‘Fuel the Sleigh’ aims to spread a little cheer to young people forced to spend the holidays in hospital away from their family and loved ones.

The Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust team

All gifts are wrapped by volunteers and then delivered to around 500 young people being treated at the 43 hospital units nationwide. Last year a staggering 1,281 gifts were delivered to patients across the country and the charity are hoping to do the same again this year.

Over the coming weeks the Laura Crane sleigh will travel from Aberdeen down to Plymouth and across to Dublin and Belfast – covering approximately 5,970 miles.

Young people at the University Hospital of Wales will be amongst those receiving a bundle of gifts from the charity including an Amazon voucher, chocolates and a distraction therapy game.

They will also receive more personal gifts from a list put together by Sarah Dransfield, Ambassador for the Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust, who received gifts herself as a teenage cancer patient. The type of gifts they will receive are:

  • Cosy gifts such as fluffy socks, slippers and pyjamas, hats, scarves and gloves or microwavable wheat-bag warmers
  • Gifts to help pass the time – trivia quiz, card games, adult colouring books, fidget spinners, books, and arts and crafts
  • Practical gifts such as power banks – to charge devices or Bluetooth speakers
  • Pampering gifts such as wash sets, make-up and beauty products, eyebrow kits or nail-varnish.

Speaking about how the campaign started, Pam Thornes, Charity Manager at The Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust, said: “We became aware that because teenagers are often treated on adult wards they were missing out on any special surprises at Christmas and certainly weren’t receiving any gifts. All are waking up on Christmas morning in a hospital bed, away from the comfort of home and loved ones.

Every child, however, deserves to wake up to a special gift at Christmas. And thanks to the ongoing kindness and goodwill of volunteers – and the generosity of all who continue to support the appeal – we are able to make that a reality for the young patients spending the festive season in hospital – a message that we are all thinking of them.”

Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust is the only UK charity focused on funding research specifically into cancers affecting the 13-24 age group. The charity also funds measures to improve the quality of life for these young cancer patients, during their frequent and often debilitating stays in hospital.

Mum, Andrea, whose son received a gift from Laura Crane at Christmas last year explains what it meant to their family: “When my son woke up in hospital on Christmas morning, he was so touched to receive a bag of gifts from your organisation. It not only made being in hospital at Christmas time more bearable, but it also made it feel more special knowing that people were thinking about him and actually cared that he was away from family and friends at a time when he felt most isolated.”

If anyone would like to get involved in this year’s campaign they can do so by making an online donation to the charity’s virtual Christmas Gift tree. Instead of sending Christmas cards this year why not light up the Laura Crane tree with lights, presents and baubles and your own special Christmas messages. All donations will go towards buying gifts, wrapping paper and of course fuelling the sleigh. Companies have the opportunity to become one of the charity’s Corporate Santas and make a real difference this Christmas.

For more information or to make a donation via the virtual Christmas tree visit http://www.lauracranetrust.org/.