“Trust me, there is nothing to prepare you for hearing a doctor tell you that your child has cancer. The day we found out that Aliesha had leukaemia was without doubt the worst day of our lives. It completely stopped us in our tracks and to be honest we’d no idea what was going to happen next.”

“At that point your mind races and you’re bombarded with a lot of information from the doctors – it’s a lot to take in and at that point we didn’t take anything in other than the word cancer. I remember thinking that Aliesha wouldn’t be around for much longer", explains dad Gerard.

“If it hadn’t have been for Bridget I’m not sure what we would have done. Bridget was out CLIC Sargent social worker during our cancer journey. I can honestly say that she saved us. I remember watching a Blue Peter programme about cancer (leukaemia) when I was a younger and how survival rates were very low.

“Bridget very quickly told me that Aliesha was in the best place possible, that the medical staff were incredible and that the survival rates had risen to approximately 85%. I’m sure this is exactly what the medical team had told me, but I just couldn’t hear the words because I was so fixated on cancer.”

Gerard had this to say about the help his family was given by CLIC Sargent; “The support we as a family received from CLIC Sargent, and particularly from Bridget meant everything to us. Cancer has a nasty knack of blinding and paralysing you to the point that you can’t see beyond it. You can’t hear a word that’s being said to you – you just see cancer.

Bridget and the team from CLIC Sargent helped us throughout our cancer journey but did so in a way that allowed us to understand the situation and to access the kind of support that would really benefit us; this is something that we will always be very grateful.

“When Aliesha was well enough to be discharged for a short time from the ward we ended up staying either in the hospital – walking around the grounds or going for a short car journey. There was simply no point travelling home to no sooner arrive before having to return to the hospital.

“If there had been a ‘Home from Home’ we would have been able to have our own space away from the ward and to have a bit of a family reunion – in the early stages of Aliesha’s treatment we hadn’t been together as family for months. As someone who has first-hand experience of childhood cancer I can honestly say that the home will be an absolute godsend to parents.

Our friends and family have been amazing and I’d just like to thank them for all of their support. Cancer is horrible and no parent should have to go through what we did. Sadly we’ll not be the last parents to go through a cancer journey, but it’s comforting to know that CLIC Sargent is there to help. Survival rates are increasing year-on-year and I’m confident that a cure is just around the corner – fingers crossed.”