As a 13-year-old battling cancer, Ava Martin understands more than most the importance of having home comforts during gruelling treatment.
The Coleraine teen is currently receiving treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children — but she is putting her time to good use.
Ava has designed a Christmas card to help raise funds for a CLIC Sargent appeal being supported by the Belfast Telegraph.
Her impressive work of art is now being printed and sold to raise cash for the charity’s Homes from Home appeal.
The Belfast Telegraph this week launched a Christmas appeal which aims to raise £50,000 towards the Homes From Home appeal overall goal of £3.7m.
The cash is needed to fund the building of two respite buildings within walking distance of treatment centres at the Royal and the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital.
The centres will offer a sanctuary to families close to where their child is undergoing treatment.
Ava, a pupil at Coleraine High, urged people to buy her festive cards or donate to the Christmas appeal.
On average, families in Northern Ireland travel 95 miles, up to five times a week, to access the cancer treatment their child needs, placing an enormous amount of stress on everyone involved.
Ava knows the importance of having a cosy place to try and relax while undergoing treatment. The thoughtful youngster decided to help other young people with cancer by designing her own festive card while she was undergoing treatment.
“Having chemotherapy leaves me quite tired,” she said. “I live in Coleraine so the journey to Belfast is quite long, and even though I get a room in the hospital it doesn’t feel very homely.
“It would be nice to be able to relax in a home from home and be more normal.”
She added: “I decided to use my time in hospital to help other people and came up with the idea of a Christmas card to help CLIC Sargent.”
Every penny from the sale of Ava’s Christmas cards will go directly to the Homes From Home appeal, as printing firm Minprint has not charged a fee.Ava’s Christmas cards are available in packs of eight, priced at £5. To buy them call 9072 5780 or visit www.minprint.co.uk/clic