A charity which aims to improve psychological and emotional support for children and their families as they go through cancer treatment has received a boost from Lycetts and Ecclesiastical Insurance.
The Katie Nugent Fund was set up by Nick and Alice Nugent in 2011 after the death from leukaemia a year earlier of their six-year-old daughter Katie.
The terrible experience of seeing their little girl go through the gruelling hospital process convinced them of the need for more work to support the mental health of parents, siblings, and patients alike.
‘Chemotherapy attacks the illness, but unfortunately it also attacks the spirit,’ said Alice, who lives with her family in Clonmellon, Co. Meath, Ireland. ‘The mental side of it is awful, with long-term effects stretching on for many years even where the child survives, and it fragments the tightest of families.
‘But despite this there is very little provision for services to help families cope. Our aim is to do what we can to minimise the suffering and pain for all involved, and to that end the charity has been working with Trinity College Dublin and Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin, to assess the need for that emotional and practical support.
‘Now we are beginning the process of identifying and recruiting Family Advocates or Navigators. Initially, the Katie Nugent fund would pay for these individuals, though we hope that eventually the scheme will be taken on by health services in Ireland and, eventually, throughout Europe.
‘We’re really grateful to Lycetts and Ecclesiastical for their support – the COVID-19 outbreak has unfortunately led to the postponement of some fundraising events, so it is very timely.’
Lycetts director William Nicholl said, ‘Some of our staff have personal connections to Katie’s family, so this is very close to our hearts and we were absolutely delighted to be able to help.’