Haven House Children’s Hospice hosted a Paediatric Oncology Open Day on Saturday 17 September as part of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

The event was designed to raise awareness of the support available for children diagnosed with cancer in the local area and promote the benefits of Haven House services to families at its Holistic Care Centre in Woodford Green.

Children and young people enjoyed taster sessions of music therapy and complementary therapies as well as art and crafts and games in the grounds.

Research published this month showed the number of children diagnosed with cancer has increased by 40% in the past two decades.

Every year in the UK around 4,000 children and young people under 25 are diagnosed with cancer. Whilst survivability has improved cancer remains the leading cause of death in children aged 1-14 years in the UK.

Eileen White, Director of Care at Haven House, said: "Children and young people with cancer can sometimes feel isolated, and during the treatment phase of their disease can be absent from school for long periods of time. We know there are many children in our local area that could benefit from our services, but are currently not accessing our support.

"It can often be the case that families feel the traditional view of hospice care is ‘not for them’, however using therapeutic services such as; physiotherapy, music therapy and therapeutic yoga can help build relationships and support the entire family during this very difficult period.

"Having benefited from therapeutic services, many of our families then go on to access respite care giving them vital breaks whilst at the same time providing a fun and safe environment for their children."

Karen Attwood, a mother from South Woodford, previously used Haven House for her daughter, Yasmin, who was diagnosed with leukemia in August 2012. Yasmin is now in remission and no longer requires support from the hospice.

Karen said: "When I was introduced to Haven House I was a bit reluctant to take Yasmin at first.

"We initially accessed yoga therapy and music therapy which my baby son also really enjoyed as he never got the opportunity to go to any baby groups because of his sister’s illness.

"Yasmin loved Haven House from the moment she arrived and she started to have day care once a week. This was the first time I had been able to leave her anywhere since she started treatment.

"I knew she would be well cared for by the medical staff and I didn’t need to worry if there were any medical issues.

"I can’t thank Haven House enough for the support all the staff gave me and my family at the most traumatic time in our lives."

Find out more about how we support children living with cancer.