A Huddersfield charity is to a fund a specialist nurse in one of the UK’s leading cancer centres for young people.

The Ella Dawson Foundation was set up in memory of 24-year-old Ella from Slaithwaite who died in July 2021 following two years of treatment for an aggressive form of blood cancer.

Although Ella received outstanding clinical and medical care following her diagnosis she noticed there was a great need for psychological, physical, wellbeing, nutritional and social support. So she set out to create a blueprint of how young adults with cancer could be better supported holistically.

The former Greenhead College and Bradford Grammar School student and aspiring artist had some of her treatment at The Christie hospital in Manchester which is a Principal Treatment Centre for teenagers and young adults with cancer.

The charity will now fully fund a nurse trained in complementary therapy in a 12-month pilot scheme at The Christie, providing a service over and above what the NHS is able to fund. Around 270 young people are treated at The Christie’s teenage and young adult unit every year.

Ella Dawson’s sister Natasha Dawson (left) and mum Jane with Hanna Simpson, Teenage Cancer Trust lead nurse at The Christie.

The Ella Dawson Foundation was set up by Ella’s mum, Jane, dad Kevin, sister Tasha and Ella’s partner, Connor Gamble, knowing there was a need for young people with cancer to access health and wellbeing support during their treatment and for up to two years afterwards. 

Jane said: “When you have cancer your life is taken over by relentless, often invasive medical treatments. There’s no question that Ella’s holistic way of living helped her greatly through two years of her cancer journey.

“It gave her a complete sense of oneness and peace in the face of some very tricky treatment. It helped to alleviate her nausea and fatigue and helped balance out the journey she was on by giving her a degree of power over herself and allowing her to live well despite the aggressive treatments. Ella was passionate that holistic support should become part of the standard of care pathway.

“Ella had excellent care at The Christie and everyone went above and beyond. We know she would have been proud to see a full-time therapist support that medical care. Our hope is that if this pilot is successful we will look to permanently fund it and expand it to other hospitals.”

Hanna Simpson, Teenage Cancer Trust lead nurse at The Christie, who helped care for Ella, said: “The best legacy Ella could give was her passion for life and that’s what she’s left her family with which has allowed them to start the foundation and make a difference to other young people.

“This role will become one of the most impactful services we have. The experience for our young people and their families will be incredible. We’re so lucky that the Ella Dawson Foundation has chosen The Christie to be the pilot site.”

For more information on the Ella Dawson Foundation go to www.elladawsonfoundation.org.uk

Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.