Play area opens for children of breast cancer patients at Royal Free

Cancerkin, a dedicated breast cancer charity, based at the Royal Free hospital, opened its first ever children’s play area on 7th May 2010.  Designed for the children of women who are receiving breast cancer treatment at the Royal Free, the area offers mothers’ peace of mind, knowing their children are safe and near whilst they are being treated.

The corner was opened by Cancerkin’s life president and founder Santilal Parbhoo, who recognises the great impact the play area will have on Cancerkin’s women and their families, saying that “Young mums living with breast cancer and their families can relax a little bit more when they come to us. This will be a delight for them.”

Cancerkin’s chief executive, Victoria Todd, spearheaded the initiative, believing passionately that a carefree area was needed for the children to play, learn and have fun whilst waiting for their mothers.

Ms Todd mentioned the need for a children’s play area following a visit from Kelly Felgenhauer and Maria Vigil, members of the Hampstead Women’s Club (HWC), a dynamic group of women who were looking to do some charity work for women living with cancer. Only a few weeks later, a corner in Cancerkin was completely refurbished with new children’s furniture, games, books, cuddly toys – a fully kitted-out play area was born.

Michele Wilmoth, president of the HWC, was pleased to see what a difference this addition would make to the day to day running of the centre, saying: “These women come here, either as patients or volunteers, and their children had no-where to play, so we asked our members to help.”

Ruth Levy, the mother of one-year-old Emmanuel, said: “It is lovely to have a play area catering for older children to babies. My six-year-old is at school and now I know that if I needed to, I could bring him here. I think it’s wonderful.”

Judith Sanitt a breast cancer patient 30 years ago and now the Head of Cancerkin’s Experienced Patients team who support women undergoing treatment at the RFH, arrived with her grand children to celebrate the opening. She was very supportive of the initiative saying: “This will make such a difference to women undergoing their treatment knowing that there is a little sanctuary for their children to come to when Mummy is here for treatment”.