In 1987 our founder, Brenda Clark sadly lost her daughter to cancer. Tracy Ann was just 21 years old. During her treatment Tracy was either in an adult’s ward or children’s ward, there was no one her age to talk to. Tracy was isolated, away from home, her friends and all the activities a young woman her age would normally be doing.
After losing Tracy, Brenda spent many years supporting young cancer patients during their hospital stay. She spoke at length to them about what they needed, what was important to them, what would help a little. Their stories all had a similar theme – they wanted to be with other young people and they wanted to feel normal.
In 1997 Brenda set up Youth Cancer Trust to provide support and free activity based holidays for teenagers and young adults (age 14- 30) who have cancer, are in remission or are living with late effects.
Our base at Tracy Ann House is a small converted hotel just a few minutes walk from Alum Chine beach in Bournemouth. The trust provides holidays for 8 young people per week and is able to support up to 250 guests per year. Guests are welcome to bring a similar age friend or sibling with them if they don’t want to come alone.
The house is comfortably furnished and designed to be homely. There is a games room with a pool table, table football and professional karaoke system, PS3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii.
There is a comfy lounge with a wall mounted plasma screen, cinema surround sound, DVD player and HiFi.
Our 6 bedrooms all have their own TV’s, fridges and music players with ipod or smart phone docks. The house has wireless internet access throughout.
Guests have access to the indoor pool, sauna and jacuzzi situated next door at the Riviera Hotel.
We have a beautiful garden called the ‘Garden of New Beginnings’ in which we host weekly barbeques, often followed by karaoke. Also in the garden is a therapy room and art shed.
During the week guests enjoy activities such as go karting, dry slope skiing, horse riding, water park, speed boat rides or we can create an activity plan to suit our guest’s wishes. We have themed weeks during the year such as wellbeing or food, during which we have a specially designed programme.
We encourage the group to spend time together and strong lasting friendships often develop. Many guests choose to return again with the friends they met on previous trips.
The holidays are about fun, getting away from hospital and trying new activities, but they are so much more than that too. They are about being completely accepted for who you are and being able to feel normal around people that understand you and have had a similar journey. They are about taking brave new steps and feeling confidence returning, they are about sharing together and building a supportive network of friends to turn to and be able to connect with when it feels like no one understands. These are holidays that bring hope and strength to our guests and that is why we do what we do.
If you know someone that would benefit from a free Youth Cancer Trust holiday, or you’d like to find out how you can support us, please visit our website at www.youthcancertrust.org or get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org 01202 763591
We’d love to hear from you.