The Claire Sadler Trust Fund

Helping teenagers with cancer

Who was Claire

Claire was born in Uxbridge, Middlesex in 1977. She grew up there, went to school and lived all her life there. She was a bright lively young girl, involved in all the normal activities of a young person. Brownies, Girl Guides (she later became leader) etc. As she grew up it became clear that she had a talent for sport and took part in netball, swimming, gymnastics and running. As a teenager she became increasingly involved in her local church, where she became an altar server, as well as participating fully in community activities. These included fundraising for the local hospital and church, escorting the elderly and sick to Chapel in hospital.

At the age of fifteen Claire was diagnosed with cancer. With characteristic bravery and boldness she underwent a multitude of investigations, followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy. There were many difficulties to face: the side effects of the treatment, such as losing her hair – Claire’s was bright long auburn hair, feeling weak and unwell all the time. There were emotional struggles, the hopes, the fears, aspirations and losses to face. Throughout, Claire kept a smile on her face, for the sake of her family and the other teenagers on the ward at the Middlesex Hospital in London, where she was treated.

Claire spent months in and out of hospital. There was terrific camaraderie between the teenagers on the adolescent unit, some of whom had to travel hundreds of miles for treatment. They supported each other throughout, even to the point of the survivors insisting on attending their friend’s funerals. Claire made very close friendships on the wards; they often found it easier to talk to each other about their concerns than parents and family who found some of the issues too upsetting to discuss. Adversity brings out many qualities, in this case the ebullience of youth brought out humour and remarkable courage. Some were diagnosed just as they were about to sit GCSEs and still insisted on taking the examinations. One lad insisted on taking his driving test; he was too ill to attend, got another date, and took it, despite feeling unwell, passed but sadly died the following day. Sadly, Claire’s cancer was not curable and she died at home in July 1995, weeks only before her eighteenth birthday.

About the Claire sadler trust fund

The Claire Sadler Trust Fund was set up in February 1995 and formally became registered as a charity in March 1997.

It’s purpose is to enable teenagers and very young adults who have cancer to take short breaks, holidays and outings away from the stresses of their treatment and to help give some relief to the emotional turmoil living with such a diagnosis brings.

Cancer is a devastating diagnosis at any age, but for young people on the brink of adulthood with all their hopes and aspirations before them, perhaps about to embark on a chosen career, a university course or newly married, a few even have small children, it brings unique challenges.

Financing such breaks is often impossible for the patient or their family which is why this fund has been created. A ‘treat’ such as the trust arranges provides a focus to look forward to and reflect back on when difficulties have to be faced. Sadly for some, who don’t make it, time becomes precious and these breaks provide the opportunity to be with those very special close family and friends.

Arranging breaks can be difficult, because of the constraints of treatment and the difficulties in obtaining medical insurance for these patients. The trust works with the hospital to resolve these difficulties and to make these trips possible. To date, the Trust has worked most closely with the Adolescent Cancer Unit at The Middlesex Hospital, which is where Claire was treated, but it is gradually expanding its remit as it becomes better known.

How did the trust get started?

Whilst in hospital Claire discovered that many of the teenagers there would have liked to go on holiday, but that the extra costs related to their illness meant that such luxuries were far out of reach of most of their families. Families, who had already sacrificed much to provide the necessary facilities at home to accommodate their children’s illnesses.

Some of Claire’s school friends organised a gig to raise money for Claire to have a short break. But Claire had other ideas for the money. She asked her parents to set up a Trust Fund in her name, the object being to send teenagers and one carer (usually a friend) on a holiday of their choice in Europe.

Since the Trust was set up in February 1995, many teenagers have benefited from the opportunity to get away. Sadly not all of them are alive today. Examples: two teenage boys, in between Chemotherapy treatments went away to Amsterdam for a long weekend. Another teenage boy was sent out to visit a friend in Spain. A brother and sister went to Tenerife for a week. A 16yr old animal lover and her mother went to Whipsnade Wild Life Park for a weekend – she sadly died a few weeks later.

Ten patients went on a trip to Alton Towers – this included an overnight hotel stay.

Claire received treatment at The Middlesex Hospital, the Charity has now expanded to Hospitals all around the country.

Supporting the Trust

The Claire Sadler Trust Fund organises regular fundraising events to help raise money for the Trust.

Without your help, none of the good work of the Trust would be possible. We thank you for your support and for helping carry forth Claire’s wishes.

If you would like to be notified of future fundraising events and / or to make a further donation to The Claire Sadler Trust Fund please contact us at the following address:

The Claire Sadler Trust Fund
95, St Georges Drive,
Ickenham, Middlesex, UB10 8HR
01895 634528
E-mail: clairesadlerfund@aol.com

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