Screengrab of the virtual opening

TRHs Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie and Sarah, Duchess of York, open a new Teenage Cancer Trust and Morgan Stanley blood cancer ward at UCLH

During the virtual opening, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie heard first-hand from two young women how important the support of the Teenage Cancer Trust was to them


Sarah, Duchess of York, and Their Royal Highnesses Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, met young people affected by cancer and the nurses supporting them, at a virtual event to officially open a new specialist haematology ward at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) on 11th July.

The royal highnesses are Honorary Patrons of Teenage Cancer Trust. This was the charity’s first ever virtual opening via zoom, made necessary by the serious risk of coronavirus to the young people undergoing treatments for blood cancer.

Teenage Cancer Trust has worked with Morgan Stanley employees to raise and donate over £600,000 of funding for the much-needed new ward that brings teens and young people with blood cancer together to be treated by experts in a place especially designed for them.

On the call, Sarah, Duchess of York, and the Princesses talked to Michelle and Nella about their experience of blood cancer.

Nella was diagnosed with B-cell acute leukaemia in July 2021 aged 22. She shared how she only found out she had cancer after an unrelated blood test.

Nella, a young person who took part in the virtual opening
Nella, who took part in the virtual opening

Nella explains: “It was found that my bone marrow cells were 95% cancerous and if it had been left much longer, I could have died. Being transferred to UCLH from my local hospital and being supported by the Teenage Cancer Trust team there has made such a difference to my life - and I was so proud to be part of the event.”

Filmmaker Michelle was diagnosed with was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma at the age of 20. On the call she described the years of treatment she’s endured, and how she’s relapsed three times.

Earlier this year following a stem cell transplant, she spent 10 weeks as an inpatient at UCLH, isolated in her room. Michelle is grateful that facilities in the new Grafton Way building meant that her partner Hannah and her mum and dad were able to stay with her during treatment, on weekly rotation.

Michelle, a young person who took part in the call, pictured in hospital
Michelle, who took part in the call, pictured in hospital

Michelle explains: “I had to have my medication through an IV line and my body didn’t know where to put the water – I swelled up from 55kg to 77kg in the space of a week and could barely breathe, the water collected in random parts of my body including my lungs.

“I couldn’t have coped with that without the support of my loved ones. And my Teenage Cancer Trust Nurse Gaby and Youth Support Coordinator Marlies have been amazing too.”

Sarah, Duchess of York, said: “This is a special charity that’s so very close to my heart. Cancer doesn’t just devastate a young person’s health, it threatens to take away everything they care about – their identity, their independence, and their dreams. Teenage Cancer Trust’s specialist nurses and youth workers provide the very best care and support during treatment and beyond, making sure that cancer doesn’t stop young people living their lives.

“I opened the first Teenage Cancer Trust unit for young people in London in 1990, and 32 years later, to be here with my daughters, helping to open this new blood cancer ward at UCLH, is truly remarkable. We are all honoured to be a part of this incredible charity.”

Teenage Cancer Trust works in partnership with NHS hospitals across the UK to provide funding for specialist nurses and youth support teams. The charity also funds enhancements of wards within hospitals, and new wards, with the aim of bringing young people together to ease the isolation that a diagnosis of cancer at a young age can bring.

The money donated to UCLH by Teenage Cancer Trust and Morgan Stanley was spent creating a social space for young people to enjoy during their stay on the ward, with a jukebox, TV, games console and area for drinks. It also paid for interior design features in corridors and rooms to create a more homely environment, and upgraded furniture, like recliners, to make their stay more comfortable.

Photo of Kerry White, Ward Manager at UCLH, cutting ceremonial tape
Kerry White, Ward Manager at UCLH, cutting ceremonial tape

Morgan Stanley has raised more than £1.4 million for Teenage Cancer Trust as part of a two-and-a-half-year partnership, which as well as part-funding the new ward, has paid for the interior design of a chillout space and waiting area for young cancer patients at UCLH’s newly built proton beam therapy centre.

The total raised has also funded four specialist Teenage Cancer Trust outreach nurses across London and the South-East, so that more young people with cancer can get the expert care and sensitive, individual support they need.

“I am extremely proud of all the Morgan Stanley employees who, despite the challenges of the pandemic, ran, cycled, climbed and baked in their fundraising efforts to support the delivery of the transformational new blood cancer ward at UCLH”, said Clare Woodman, Head of EMEA at Morgan Stanley.

“The opening of the Teenage Cancer Trust-Morgan Stanley Unit, together with the incredible nurses and youth support coordinators that we have funded, means that for the first time, every young person in London and the South-East facing a cancer diagnosis will receive the very best, age-appropriate care.” 

UCLH acting chief nurse Vanessa Sweeney said: “After many years in the planning, and more in the construction, it is fantastic to have the new haematology ward. We are extremely grateful to the Teenage Cancer Trust and their support makes a huge difference to our patients. UCLH has worked with the charity for many years and together we have improved the care of young people with cancer.”