The Children’s Cancer Unit Charity exists solely to support the work of the Children’s Cancer and Haematology Unit at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children and their families.
The Children’s Cancer Unit Charity (formerly known as the Northern Ireland Children’s Cancer Unit Fund) is a registered charity and depends on donations from supporters. All the funds raised are used to care for children in the province who suffer with all forms of childhood cancer and selected benign haematological conditions. Administration costs are kept to the bare minimum.
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The Children’s Cancer and Haematology Unit cares for children up to the age of 16 with cancer and blood disorders. Around 50 new patients with malignant conditions are seen every year. A similar number are assessed for benign conditions such as sickle cell and low blood count.
The Unit is part of an international network of organisations involved in development care and treatment of children and young people with cancer and blood disorders. It has been an integral part of the United Kingdom’s Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group since 1980. This global network has contributed substantially to the improved survival rates of children. If treated in time, over 80% of children survive cancer and 90% survive blood disorders such as leukaemia.
The Children’s Cancer Unit Charity’s mission is to support the work of the existing unit and staff at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children in providing care for children with cancer and blood disorders. This includes funding equipment and resources such as staff training and research.
A longer term objective of the Charity is to achieve a dedicated Haematology and Oncology Unit for children at the new children’s hospital planned for Northern Ireland in the next 5 years. This will ensure a sharp focus on facilities and treatment for patients and for high level research into cancer and blood disorders.
The Northern Ireland Children’s Cancer Unit Fund was set up in April 1984 by parents, relatives, friends and medical professionals concerned about facilities for children and young adults with cancer and blood disorders such as haemophilia and sickle cell disease.
They saw a need to provide separate care for children then being treated, particularly those undergoing immune suppressive treatments which require rigorous protection from infection, in open general wards.
A dedicated unit was established in 1987 with medical and nursing staff at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children from funds raised by the public campaign. The unit continues to depend on funding from private sources.
In 2014 the NICCUF was rebranded as the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity.
The Children’s Cancer Unit Charity is a registered charity formed and run by local people. It depends on donations to support the work of medical and nursing professionals at the Children’s Cancer and Haematology Unit in the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children. The Fund is led by a Board of Trustees drawn from the Northern Ireland community. They are:
Dr Anthony McCarthy is a Consultant Paediatric Oncologist in the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children. He was appointed in April 2000 and since then has taken the lead in the management of all children diagnosed with solid tumours under the age of 16 years. He has been lead clinician of the Children’s Haematology Unit and trustee of the Northern Ireland Children’s Cancer Unit Fund since 2008.
Dr Ben Wilson, President, is one of the founder members of the Charity, having made an outstanding contribution to children’s and adult cancer and the voluntary and commerce sectors.
Ben has been the guiding influence in the development of the Fund for almost 30 years during which time he has been involved in fundraising to build the Children’s Cancer Unit and contributing over £4 million to the running costs of the Unit since its inception. He continues as an active member on the Board of Trustees.
Drew Wilkinson was appointed as a funds administrator in 2011. He is a practising Chartered Accountant, a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland and a former Chairman of the Ulster Society of Chartered Accountants. He is also currently a partner of Wilkinson Wilson Chartered Accountant.
Felix Mooney is Chief Executive of the Mooney Hotel Group, which owns the Wellington Park Hotel in Belfast, the Dunadry Hotel, Templepatrick, and the Armagh City Hotel. He has been a trustee of the Northern Ireland Children’s Cancer Unit Fund since 2008 and took over the role as chairman of the trustees in 2014. Mr Mooney is a former President of the Hospitality Association of Ireland and a Director of Extra Care.
Jacqueline Wilkinson, administrator, joined the charity in 2013 to help raise awareness of the needs of children and young people suffering from cancer. Jacqueline has been involved in leading groups of volunteers to build a school in Uganda over the past number of years. She coordinates the events, fundraising activities and social media aspects of the charity.
Laurie Jones is another of the founders of the Northern Ireland Children’s Cancer Unit Fund who played a key role in raising funds to build, equip and staff the facility at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children. A qualified paediatric nurse, she saw the need for such a facility from helping to treat children and young people with cancer.
Sheila Ferguson is one of the founders of the Northern Ireland Children’s Cancer Unit Fund at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children. She was driven to help to set up the unit as a concerned parent who saw the need for a dedicated facility which focused on the specific needs of young children with cancer. Her objective in helping to spearhead the fundraising for the unit was to ensure that children in Northern Ireland had access to facilities and treatment on a par with those in other UK regions.
Siobhan Doherty became involved with the Northern Ireland Children’s Cancer Unit Fund when she worked her gap year in the fund’s office at Bryson House, Belfast in the 1980’s. A mother of two children, she has been assisting the fund ever since because of her belief in the charity’s commitment to help young people with cancer and their parents when they need it most. She currently works with children in a school environment.
The Children’s Cancer Unit Charity is a Company Limited by Guarantee and registered in Northern Ireland. HMRC Registration Number NIC104794.