A Basingstoke family is backing a charity’s appeal to transform a former bed and breakfast into a haven for young people with cancer.
The Foster family stayed in CLIC Sargent’s ‘home from home’ for free while their daughter, Rae, underwent gruelling cancer treatment in 2016.
The charity has now launched a fundraising appeal to transform a former Hampshire bed and breakfast into a new space for young cancer patients and their families to stay during treatment.
Jean’s House in Southampton will open in autumn and provide free accommodation for young cancer patients and their families at nearby specialist Southampton Hospital.
It will replace the existing home from home at CLIC Haven in the grounds of the hospital, where the Foster family stayed during Rae’s treatment.
Rae, who is almost two, was diagnosed with an infant form of leukaemia when she was only five months old and has undergone chemotherapy and lumbar punctures.
Dad David said: “The first three months were a blur, it was such a massive shock.
“Cancer was not something we expected it to be. We thought initially she had an enlarged spleen that
would need removing.
“CLIC Haven made a huge difference to our family and helped us with a sense of normality there.
“With my sons, Riley, Aidan and Noah, it was so important to spend time as a family with my wife Aimee and Rae.
“Without the house, I can’t imagine how difficult it would have been, I really don’t know what we would
have done without it.
“I really hope that everyone in Basingstoke backs this appeal because it is a lifeline to families like ours who have their world turned upside down.”
Southampton Council granted planning permission for the transformation of the former bed and breakfast in October.
More than £1.2m has already been raised through donors including Children with Cancer UK, Signet and Sir Jules Thorne Charitable Trust but CLIC Sargent need to raise the remaining £400,000 to complete the renovation.
Fundraising manager Liz Blunt said the public’s support could transform the property “into a welcoming haven for families like the Fosters”.
To donate to the appeal visit https://bit.ly/2HPUgVj