A CANCER charity has launched the final stage of a fundraising drive to build a new haven in the Capital for young people with the disease.
CLIC Sargent is hoping to raise a total of £425,000 in order to build a new “Home from Home” facility near the new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People Edinburgh, which is due to open next spring on the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh Campus at Little France.
The unit will provide free accommodation for young patients and their families in an effort to help relatives avoid having to travel long distances every day to get to and from the hospital.
The £425,000 sum would complete a £3.3 million fundraising drive to build new homes in both Edinburgh and Glasgow following the decision in both cities for their children’s hospitals to be moved.
In an added boost, the charity’s fundraising partner Crerar Hotels Trust has pledged to double this total by matching all donations up to the £425,000 mark.
Kate Lee, CLIC Sargent chief executive, said: “We know that hundreds of young lives are going to be struck by cancer in the coming years and CLIC Sargent is dedicated to being there for every one of them. That is why this new Home from Home in Edinburgh is so vitally important.
“A cancer diagnosis means normal life stops for the child or young person, and their family. Treatment is gruelling and often happens many miles from home. This new home will be a welcoming, calm place where families can concentrate on being together and relax away from the wards.
“We are so close to hitting our fundraising target and want to thank all of our supporters and donors for their help.”
CLIC Sargent’s current Home from Home, CLIC Villa, has supported thousands of families since it was opened in the Capital in 1997.
The new Home from Home, designed by LDN Architects, will be built on Old Dalkeith Road. It will have nine en-suite bedrooms, as well as communal kitchens, laundry and social areas, helping families spend more time together and avoid often debilitating travel costs.
One of the first families to stay at the existing house was that of Euan Mutch, who was diagnosed with leukaemia when he was just three years old, in April 1998.
His mother, Kirsten, said CLIC Villa was a lifeline when they realised they were facing many months of treatment. She said: “It’s a surreal moment when it happens and you’re told that your child has cancer. It’s like you’re in a nightmare.
“We live on the other side of Edinburgh, but when your child is that young and poorly and doesn’t want you to leave them for a second, it can be completely overwhelming.
“The house was absolutely brilliant. It really was a home away from home for us. It was a haven of normality away from the world of hospitals and treatment and that made such a big difference for us.”
Euan, now a healthy 22-year-old, is about to graduate with a masters in computing and electronics. His mum now regularly volunteers at the house.
To support the appeal, text “Home” to 70020 to donate £3 or visit clicsargent.org.uk/donate.