Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Life-changing 'home from home' for kids with cancer and their families... and you built it!

CLIC Sargent patron Barry McGuigan joined Honour Johnston at the launch of the first CLIC Sargent Home From Home

It started off as two terraced houses.

And now it has been transformed into a life-changing home away from home for hundreds of families across Northern Ireland.

Just a zebra crossing away from the Royal Victoria Hospital for Sick Children on the Falls Road, a state-of-the-art house has been built to help families with children living with cancer.

Last Christmas this newspaper backed the CLIC Sargent 'Homes From Home' Appeal and our readers raised a staggering £50,000 to help build the refuge.

Located just 130 yards from the hospital and provided free of charge to families, Paul's House – named after 14-year-old Paul O'Gorman from London, who died from leukaemia – was full of supporters as it was officially opened by Health Minister Edwin Poots and professional golfer Michael Hoey yesterday.

Currently, families can face an average round-trip of 95 miles, several times per week, to receive cancer treatment in Belfast – and spend an additional £360 per month. But now, with the help of CLIC Sargent, up to four families can be housed at any one time in the new property.

The spacious home boasts a quiet room where family members can go and have some time to themselves, as well as a playroom for children.

Yesterday was an emotional day as families affected by cancer gathered to see the new propoerty that they had fundraised for.

Mum Rachel Johnston (39) from Millisle said the home would have been a lifeline for her when daughter Honour (14) was diagnosed with a rare ovarian cancer two years ago. Thankfully, Honour has been given the all clear.

"The travelling was extremely difficult, it was about 30 miles there and 30 miles back. It took its toll on Honour. With the chemotherapy she was sick, but the travelling made it worse."

Patron of the CLIC Sargent appeal Barry McGuigan said he was ecstatic that Northern Ireland's first home had finally opened.

"We wanted to have the best facilities for the sick children to give them the best chance of recovering."

QUOTE

"This is a home for Northern Ireland, from Northern Ireland by Northern Ireland and people like you at the Telegraph – we couldn't do it without you. This is your Christmas present to the children of Northern Ireland – thank you."

Chairman of CLIC Sargent Daphne Pullen

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