Our Story

Cancer treatment is frightening, challenging, and isolating and can devastate families emotionally, physically, and financially.

For a diagnosed child, months of gruelling treatment and its side effects can impact their mental health, their education, and their friendships. This is also an extremely worrying time for siblings who can feel like the forgotten child as their parents focus their attention on their sick sibling.

For many parents struggling to care for a child with cancer, whilst working and maintaining a family routine, a childhood cancer diagnosis can place an enormous strain on their relationships and their finances. Children who are struggling to cope with their parent’s cancer diagnosis life becomes full of fear and uncertainty, whilst their parents worry about how to talk to their children about cancer.

At Cancer Fund for Children, we understand the devastating impact a cancer diagnosis and its treatment have on the whole family, and that beyond the essential medical care, there is a family life that needs to be rebuilt.

Our aim is to empower, connect and strengthen families, so they feel equipped to deal with whatever cancer throws at them.

Cancer Fund for Children is also here to help bereaved families cope with the emotional pain of losing a child or parent to cancer.

With our amazing supporters by our side, we will ensure that children and young people don’t have to face cancer alone.

Our vision is that no child should face cancer alone.

Every young person under the age of 25 receives the right emotional and therapeutic support to help them cope better with impact cancer has on their young lives.

Our History
Cancer Fund for Children was founded in 1973 by Margaret McAlpine MBE.

She was 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 Shimna Valley House in Co Down in 1996. 

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 hospital wards, Shimna Valley was the forerunner to the unique Daisy Lodge, which was opened in 2014 and stands on the same site today.

Recruiting highly skilled and trained staff to deliver both specialist services.

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 Cancer Fund for Children has grown to become the leading charity supporting children and young people living with cancer and their families in Northern Ireland.

Meeting the emotional needs of young people living with cancer.

And yet, despite such significant growth, the ethos of Cancer Fund for Children has remained constant – to develop and deliver services to meet the 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.

Our plan is to roll out our services throughout the Republic of Ireland.

We are an ambitious charity with a vision that every child diagnosed with cancer throughout Ireland will receive the emotional support they need.

Our plan is to roll out our services throughout the Republic of Ireland, starting with the building of Daisy Lodge Mayo, a purpose built eight-suite therapeutic facility near the village of Cong for children diagnosed with cancer and their families.

Our Leadership Team

Our Leadership Team drives us forward, leads on new developments and ensures quality of service, best practise and manages the financial sustainability of Cancer Fund for Children.

Working for Cancer Fund for Children you will be part of an awesome team who work together to ensure children and young people don’t have to face cancer alone.

View our current job vacancies below

The Daisy News

Our Strategic Plan 

Right Support, Right Time, Right Approach

Our mission is to ensure that no child throughout Ireland faces cancer alone. We will live the values of Cancer Fund for Children as we pursue our objectives, to ensure that every child or young person impacted by cancer receives the emotional and therapeutic support they need, at the right time and with the right approach, to help them cope better with cancer.

Over the next five years we aim to:

1.

Ensure that all children impacted by cancer in Ireland have access to our services and that they receive the right emotional and therapeutic support to help them cope better with cancer.

2.

Build and open our second therapeutic short break centre, Daisy Lodge Mayo, allowing more families to access therapeutic short breaks regardless of where they live in Ireland.

3.

Ensure that children and young people are at the heart of our organisation and young people are an active voice in championing change across cancer services.

4.

Build a more sustainable and financially resilient organisation by diversifying our fundraising and developing and nurturing lasting relationships with our supporters so they are with us now and in the future.

5.

Grow and nurture a positive and inclusive culture where our staff, supporters, and service users feel valued, supported, and listened to.

6.

Demonstrate the impact and value of our vital services whilst raising awareness of Cancer Fund for Children.