Evidence shows that the numbers of children living with cancer and life altering illness is on the rise, indeed the rates are much higher than previously estimated. Receiving a diagnosis that your child or teen has such a condition is life changing, for some there is no reasonable hope of a cure while for others there is a journey ahead which more often than not is hugely distressing, painful and frightening. Life for the family changes dramatically, it is common that one parent will give up work to care for the child, leaving the family in a much different financial position than before. This is in addition to the fact that children and young people with these conditions come mainly from areas of deprivation where money is not a luxury but a necessity to daily living.
All children and young people are individuals and have individual needs, depending on their age and stage of development, personality and family circumstances. Children with life -limiting conditions have the same needs, wished, hopes and fears which all children have. They also have painful treatment and extended hospital stays which affect both their physical and emotional health. Many miss schooling and the importance of mixing with their peers and friends; they feel socially isolated, often within the confines of their own home.
Many studies report that parents, siblings and extended family describe the joy and pleasure they experience in their relationship with their child and their pride in their child's response to challenges they encounter. This is of course mixed with a range of distressing and difficult emotions and this can mean living in a heightened state of emotional strain or stress.
At Whiteleys, we want to concentrate on bringing more joy, comfort and pride to these families through spending time away from the usual everyday stresses in a unique countryside environment equipped with modern, accessible, spacious, therapeutic facilities. A place where they can have so many opportunities to spend time together, making memories and to have opportunities and freedom which every child and young person should have.
We need to renovate 5 bathrooms to accommodate severe complex disabled children and young adults - construct a mediation centre for both children/young people and their families - develop a Garden of Wellbeing and a horticultural space for those staying in the retreat and for the children/young people of the local community to be involved in & a communal hub for the children/teenagers who want to spend a little time on their own.
Please remember, when families receive the devastating news of a diagnosis that their child has cancer or a life limiting illness - precious time is an issue. Parents give up work and holidays are the last thing on their mind; for a lot of families it something that they just cannot afford. As I am sure you will know spending time with your family is one of the most important values in life and we need to allow these families to have this quality time together. With our great community spirit and dedication, we can provide this service for these families. With the help of Jewson, we can make it happen now, as for some, now is the only time they have.