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About us

About us

Between 60 – 70 children in Northern Ireland are diagnosed with cancer each year.

Every one of them will visit the Children’s Cancer Unit throughout their journey, as it is the only place in Northern Ireland where children
can receive specialist treatment for cancer.

Here, children affected by cancer and blood disorders are treated and cared for by a team of experienced and devoted medical professionals and staff.

The Children’s Cancer Unit is part of a global network which facilitates crucial clinical trials with the objective of improving survival rates, and the quality of that survival, for children affected by these dreadful disorders.

The mission statement of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology is ‘No child should die of Cancer’, a vision that the Children’s Cancer Unit in Belfast embraces.

Our Work

In recent years we have:

Learn more about us by watching our video:

 

How we help

The Children’s Cancer Unit Charity is committed to providing ongoing support to the Unit. It does this in a number of ways.

Staffing

As in the early days, the CCUC provides additional funding for staffing. Posts funded by the charity include a dedicated Play Specialist at the Outpatients Clinic, a Practice Educator, Data Manager and an Assistant Child Psychologist.

Equipment

With the guidance of the medical professionals, the Charity also purchases essential equipment for the unit when needed.

As well as contributing £300,000 to a charity-funded MRI scanner and paying for a new ultrasound scanner for the children’s hospital, the ‘CCURelaxIt’ App was also developed thanks to CCUC funding. This piece of software helps prepare children for daunting procedures in a non-invasive way and has already become a vital tool for our Play Specialists.

Infrastructure

We are proud to have built the original eight bedded Unit back in 1987. Since then, the CCUC has extended it by constructing a further two isolation rooms – increasing the capacity at the Unit by two more beds.

The CCUC continues to upgrade and improve other areas of the Unit through renovations and redecoration, creating a more welcoming and pleasant place for our patients.

Training & Research

A vital part of our work is to fund important research and promote ongoing training. This means that our medical team is up-to-date on the latest medical and technological advances in childhood cancer care and are at the forefront of new innovative treatments.

As well as funding a Research Nurse, we send our team to global conferences and seminars every year to participate in discussions and to share knowledge with their peers around the world.

Teenagers & Young Adults

In collaboration with four other charities, the CCUC established a new Teenagers and Young Adults Cancer Service which saw an enhanced and regional support network, consisting of specialist nurses and social workers, brought to more young people. This ensures that teenagers and young adults affected by cancer can avail of specialist, age-appropriate care, wherever they are in Northern Ireland.

Our Mission

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. 

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 5-7 years. This will ensure a sharp focus on facilities and treatment for patients and for high level research into cancer and blood disorders.

Our History

Founded in 1984, The Children’s Cancer Unit Charity (CCUC) was established to raise the necessary funds to build a dedicated Children’s
Cancer & Haematology Unit at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

At that time, children diagnosed with cancer and complex blood disorders were treated alongside patients with other, potentially contagious and infectious, conditions – an arrangement that was far from suitable due to many risks.

On 23rd October 1987, the Children’s Cancer Unit opened its doors, thanks to the dedication and determination of our founding members and supporters.

The CCUC continues to support the vital work of the Children’s Cancer Unit, as well as the children who are treated there and their families.

 

In 2014 the NICCUF was rebranded as the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity.

Our People

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 Charity is led by a Board of Trustees drawn from the Northern Ireland community. They are:

Felix Mooney

Felix Mooney is Chief Executive of the Mooney Hotel Group, which owns the Wellington Park Hotel in Belfast and the Armagh City Hotel. He has been a trustee of the 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. In 2003 he was awarded an OBE for his services to the tourist and hospitality industries.

Dr Ben Wilson

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. Ben was awarded an OBE in 2016 for services to the voluntary and charitable sectors in Northern Ireland.

Laurie Jones

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

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

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.

Dr Anthony McCarthy

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.

Drew Wilkinson

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.

Jacqueline Wilkinson

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.

The Children’s Cancer Unit Charity is a Company Limited by Guarantee and registered in Northern Ireland. HMRC Registration Number NIC104794.