Our Story

The sad reality is that every week in Northern Ireland another three children and young people aged 0-24 years old will be diagnosed with cancer.

As Northern Ireland’s leading children’s cancer charity, Cancer Fund for Children understands the devastating impact a cancer diagnosis and its treatment has on the whole family, and that beyond the essential medical care, there is a family life that needs to be rebuilt. 

From the point of diagnosis our team of Specialists is here to help, guide and support families at home, in their community, and at our therapeutic short break and residential centre in Newcastle, Co. Down. Our support is focused not just on the young person, but on the whole family. Our aim is to empower, connect and strengthen them, so they feel equipped to deal with whatever the future may hold.

Cancer Fund for Children is also here to help bereaved families cope with the emotional pain of losing a child to cancer. We also support children and young people whose parent has been diagnosed with cancer through our Young Shoulders Programme.

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Our Vision

Our vision is that every young person, aged 0-24 years old, diagnosed with cancer or living with a parent diagnosed with cancer, and their families will receive the support they need both during and after treatment so that no family has to face cancer alone.

Our History

Cancer Fund for Children was founded in 1973 by Margaret McAlpine MBE, a teacher who had been recruited to provide continuity to children’s education whilst they were receiving treatment on the wards at Belvoir Park Hospital in Belfast, following a diagnosis of cancer.

Over the next ten years, Margaret recruited a range of volunteers, including consultant oncologist Dr George Edelstein, to form a Charity Board to help deliver a range of practical and financial support to families.

This developed into residential support with the purchase of Shimna Valley House in Co Down in 1996.  Aided by funds from the National Lottery, and opened by local celebrity Patrick Kielty, Cancer Fund for Children’s Shimna Valley House offered families nursing a sick child a place of tranquillity, far removed from the stress of the hospital wards – and was the fore-runner of the unique Daisy Lodge, which was opened in 2014 and stands on the same site today.

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Over the last 20 years, the Board has further professionalised the organisation, recruiting highly skilled and trained staff to deliver both specialist services to families and to fundraise, with the result that the charity has grown to become the most significant organisation in Northern Ireland supporting children and young people living with cancer – and their families.

Any yet, despite such significant growth, the ethos of Cancer Fund for Children has remained constant – to develop and deliver services to meet the practical, financial and emotional needs of young people living with cancer in their family home, on the wards and within the community – as well as offering free therapeutic short breaks at Daisy Lodge.

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Our Brand

Cancer Fund for Children’s brand conveys our personality and brand values as a charity that is caring, empathetic, professional and encouraging. It is very important that we remain consistent in how we use our brand.

If you would like to speak to someone about our brand guidelines or how to use our images, logo and key messages please contact the Marketing and Communications team. If you’re contacting us about using our logo, please tell us as much as possible about how and where you intend to use it. This will help us to provide you with the correct file type.

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Our Annual Report

In the last financial year we were proud to raise £2.6 million to help young people living with cancer and their families. You can download a copy of our annual report here:

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