NICFC - Cancer Fund for Children


1000 Short Breaks – Tom’s Story

“When my brother Graeme had cancer there were no services for families like mine.  Support from Cancer Fund for Children has filled a huge void.”


Tom’s Story


To help us mark the milestone of reaching 1000 short breaks at Daisy Lodge, Karen Brown, from Markethill, who lost her brother Graeme to cancer, is bravely sharing her family’s story about her son Tom’s cancer diagnosis.

Tom was just four weeks old when the “juggernaut” that is cancer treatment and chemo” started.

“I lost my brother Graeme to cancer 23 years ago when he was just 15 years old.  Back then there was no support for families like mine.  Since my own baby son was diagnosed last year, I’ve been amazed by the services Cancer Fund for Children provides.”

“Everything was fine for the first few hours”


“Tom was diagnosed very quickly.  Everything was fine for the first few hours. He was not even 12 hours old when he was transferred to the neo-natal ward at the Royal Victoria Hospital where he stayed for 4 weeks. It was whilst we were there that we were told that he had neuroblastoma.”

“At first we were advised to wait and see if it would disappear by itself, which can sometimes happen with babies, but when that didn’t work, the juggernaut that is cancer treatment and chemo started.”

“When Tom started treatment it was as if the cancer had robbed us of a normal family life. You can’t go out and show off the baby.  You can’t do the things that other new mummies enjoy.  It robs you of that special time.  It was very isolating.”


Haven of tranquility


“Staying at Daisy Lodge really was a little haven of tranquility.  Everything is

Cancer Fund for Children Daisy Lodge

Baby Tom with his brother Robbie

taken care of for you.  It was so lovely just to have quality time together.  We met other families there we could relate to and share our experiences with. Sometimes our friends don’t understand the stress of going through treatment so it’s nice to speak to other families who understand and know what you are going through.”

“My most memorable moment there was watching the boys lying back together on the big swing in the garden of Daisy Lodge and seeing how happy they were. Tom was sitting beside his brother and laughing away. ”

Monthly Donations


“When my brother had cancer there were no services for families like mine.  Support from Cancer Fund for Children filled a huge void.  Until you are in this situation you don’t know how invaluable Cancer Fund for Children’s services are.  As there is a lack of government funding for charities like Cancer Fund for Children I would encourage the public to please give as much as you can.

Please sign up to give just £5 a month and help provide families like Karen and Tom’s with a short break at Daisy Lodge.  You can sign up online here or by contacting us on 028 9080 5588.

Updated on: 14th February, 2017