Friday 9th December 2016
Sarah, Duchess of York, is a long-standing and tireless supporter of Teenage Cancer Trust. She officially opened our first specialist cancer unit in 1990, and has attended almost all of our 28 subsequent new unit openings across the UK. In this time she has met thousands of young people with cancer and been instrumental in raising awareness of the issues they face and of the innovative support we provide.
The Duchess introduced Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie to the work of the charity many years ago, and played a key role in them officially becoming Patrons earlier this year. They have accompanied their mother on many visits, including to the opening of our units in the Great North Children's Hospital in 2010, The Royal Marsden Hospital and Addenbrooke's Hospital, both in in 2012, and the unit at UCLH on Princess Beatrice's 18th birthday.
They marked the occasion of becoming official Patrons by visiting our unit at UCH, which opened in 2005, and has recently benefitted from more than £300,000 of refurbishment works.
They were welcomed to the unit by young people who are receiving treatment for cancer there. Everyone entered into the festive spirit by making Christmas decorations and spending time in the unit’s social area, including families and the specialist medical team.
The 18 bed unit provides specialist care and support for 13-19 year olds with cancer and is the largest Teenage Cancer Trust unit in the country. The space has been designed with the specific needs of young people in mind, including a living room with comfy seating, gaming equipment and jukebox, as well as a dining and craft table for sharing meals together and activities sessions. There's also a kitchen for patients, family and friends to cook together, and the Sanctuary room – a peaceful relaxing space – which can be used for meetings and counselling.
We fund a Nurse Consultant who oversees the state-of-the-art model of nursing care, and a Youth Support Coordinator who is trained to support young people and their families through the difficulties that cancer can present.
Our units are designed to feel more like a home from home than a hospital ward. They are places where young people with cancer can receive expert, specialist care and meet others going through similar experiences, to help them feel less alone and stressed.
Long-term Honorary Patron, Sarah, Duchess of York, said:
I've been a proud supporter of Teenage Cancer Trust for 26 years and have seen first-hand the significant difference these units, and the incredible staff, make to young people's lives. Every young person with cancer should have access to this specialist support, and we have ambitious plans to achieve this. I'm very proud of Beatrice and Eugenie's involvement at such a crucial and exciting time for the charity.
Siobhan Dunn, Chief Executive at Teenage Cancer Trust, said: "Sarah, Duchess of York, has been the most extraordinary supporter of Teenage Cancer Trust over the years. She has been with us from day one and we're so grateful for her introducing Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie to the charity. It's wonderful to have them join us now as Patrons.
"Along with their mum, they always bring such fun and positivity whenever they visit. Right now, for every young person we reach there's another we can't, but we are determined to change that, which is why it is such a crucial time for them to be joining us and helping to shine a light on the issues that young people with cancer face every day."