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Times are changing...

This Childhood Cancer Awareness month is a time for reflection for us here at Shine Bright Support. For the last three years, we have had a 'September Challenge', but with the current cost of living crisis, we thought a smaller campaign would be more fitting.

We continue to support families treated between GWH and Oxford with mental health support in the form of a Clinical Psychologist at GWH and further help with a counsellor if needed. We also provide meals for families at the Young Lives Vs Cancer Houses in Oxford, Bristol and London. Families have found these 'COOK' meals invaluable. One of the managers at the houses has told us:

"Families appreciate the meals. One of the families told us that after a long day in the hospital and no energy to cook, they would have a sandwich and go to bed; with 'COOK' meals, they can have a fulfilling and tasty meal.

Another family told us that when the child was so unwell, having the meals prepared helped them spend more time with the child."

This may seem like a small gesture, but it is essential. When a child has treatment, the NHS provides food for the patient, not the family member staying with them. Often, families have to buy food in the hospital spending large sums of money they don't have.

Spending time with your child and not worrying about spending money on expensive hospital food is a relief. This September, we ask you to buy a meal for a family and help us feed them when they need it most.

We also offer food parcels to families on treatment at Easter and Christmas, with packages given to vulnerable families or families dealing with challenging circumstances. Most families find that one parent needs to give up work to care for the child on treatment. This places a substantial financial burden on families, again exacerbated by the cost of living crisis.

We are also trying to expand the breadth of families we can support. We have recently started to work with Noah's Ark Children's Hospital in Cardiff to find ways in which we can strengthen their mental health support for families on and off treatment. There have been many exciting discussions, and we hope to fund training for them to provide early intervention therapies to help with the effects of trauma on children and their families. There are also many other exciting ideas and collaborations being shared, and we hope the following year will see them come to fruition.

This move into Wales and the support we plan to give the families means we will be adding to our charity's aims. They will be submitted to the charity commission, and once they are approved, we will update our website and all of our literature.

Thank you for your continued support, and although we may be a quiet charity, we are working in the background to make things a little easier for families affected by childhood cancer.

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