For some families with a child with a brain tumour, going on holiday or taking a break can be difficult for a whole host of reasons, such as side-effects of treatment, travel insurance, the cost of holidays, lack of suitable accommodation or facilities, etc.
Here we look at some of the organisations that provide holidays or breaks to children with serious illnesses, which can help you get round these issues. (The Brain Tumour Charity provides the details of other organisations for information only. Inclusion on this webpage doesn't constitute a recommendation or endorsement. The following list is not exhaustive.)
They are a chance for your child and your family to forget about their illness, even if only for a day.
There are many organisations that provide similar holidays and breaks. Here is a sample:
Rays of Sunshine offer wishes, including holidays and breaks, to children with serious illnesses, such as brain tumours.
For more information, watch the video above and visit their website.
Kids Cancer Charity offers caravan breaks in the UK (Wales) for children/teenagers affected by cancer to have time away with their families. This includes children/teenagers (18 years old and under) who:
- Have cancer
- Are siblings of a child/teenager with cancer
- Have been bereaved by cancer
- Need special consideration, even if they no longer fit into any above category, e.g. they try to help young adults if they have the availability and the break is not in the school holidays
There is no cost for the child/teenager and their immediate family, but they normally ask for a donation for any other people who may go with them. They cannot cover travel costs.
Their caravans are available from April to October.
Visit their website for more information and to find out how to apply.
Caring Cancer Trust provide breaks, through their Kids2Go Healing Holidays, to groups of children aged 12-17 who are recovering from cancer. They have adventure holidays and creative holidays on the Isle of Wight, Channel Islands, and the Austrian/French and Italian Alps.
Referral has to be by their hospital paediatric oncology unit.
The Happy Days charity provides UK family respite breaks to children aged 3-17 with life-limiting conditions, whose family income is less than £26,000.
Parents, guardians, grandparents or siblings can apply directly, as can GPs, consultants, nurses or social workers, by downloading the application form on their website. This also includes a list of the destinations they offer.
The waiting list can be quite long (12-14 months), but they can treat the application as a medical priority for children with a terminal condition following written confirmation by their health team.
Ruddi's Retreat aims to help families with seriously ill children to have access to a holiday home for free. This includes families with young children suffering from the effects and after-effects of cancer treatment, life-limiting illnesses or bereavement. They are also happy to offer breaks to families with a child with any type of brain tumour.
They offer 3, 4 & 7 night breaks with a maximum of three holidays per family. However, if a family is in desperate need they will always try and help if they can.
They are open for applications from January to November with breaks awarded from March to November.
Note: Holidays for 2018 are fully booked, but days out are still available, and they open for applications for holidays in 2019 this December.
The Family Holiday Association offers breaks and days out to families on a low income, who have not been away in the last 4 years, and have at least one child under the age of 18.
Most of the breaks are at caravan parks within the UK, and they also offer days out and city-breaks.
Applications have to be by someone who works with your family in a supporting role, such as a health visitor, family support worker, teacher, social worker, etc. This person must be willing to continue supporting your family throughout the process.
For more information, please ask someone who could refer you to get in touch with on 0203 117 0651 or visit their website.