On Sunday 24 April, three teenage cancer patients, will abseil down from Ripley Castle’s roof in aid of the charity that has supported them and their families from day one, Candlelighters.
Jodi Stonehouse, from Pocklington, and Caitlin Gott, from Harrogate, are both 15 and were diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. Mia Addison, from Knaresborough, is 14 and is on treatment for Osteosarcama.
The girls met during their treatment and are now close friends. As Mia said, “good things can come out of being on treatment for cancer when you’re a teenager”. Caitlin met Mia and Jodi separately at the hospital, and Jodi and Caitlin met through Chomp & Chat, a meal out for teenage patients.
They have since done a lot together; sailing, make-up activities, and Find Your Sense of Tumour, a conference for teen patients organised by the Teenage Cancer Trust.
They wanted to raise funds for Candlelighters, as a thank you for all the support they and their families receive, and when they found out about the abseil they all went for it. As Jodi said, “it looked fun!”. Caitlin added “I would like to give back to one of the charities that has done so much for me while I was on treatment and the support I have now I am off treatment. The money we raise will help even younger patients than me go through treatment more easily.”
The girls are keen to raise awareness of how a cancer diagnosis can affect someone their age. Caitlin said “being diagnosed with cancer at a young age really affects your whole life: your family and friends, especially your education and social life. People should know that even though I may look ill, I don’t always feel ill. They say to us ‘I don’t know how you have got through this’ – we don’t have a choice. We just keep going and make the most out of the situation we are in. The biggest thing is to stay positive.”
Kay, Jodi’s mum, said “Candlelighters have been there for us from day one. There’s always someone to chat to on clinic, on the ward or at The Square. They also organise activities from brothers and sisters that Jodi’s sisters love going to.”
Candlelighters supports families affected by children’s cancer from across Yorkshire and the abseil is supported by their Patron Lady Ingilby of Ripley Castle. The charity needs to raise £1,5m each year to continue to support families, invest in research and fund roles and equipment within the NHS.
The abseil is open to anyone aged 8 and over making it a real family event. It will take place at Ripley Castle on Sunday 24 April, 10am to 4pm. Registration is £10 per person, and each participant will aim to raise £100 for the charity meaning the abseil could raise thousands of pounds. Places are limited, but some are still available.
Registration can be made on 0113 322 9283 or on www.candlelighters.org.uk.
You can sponsor Jodi, Mia and Caitlin on www.justgiving.com/Kay-Stonehouse1 or call 0113 322 9283 to sponsor them over the phone.