Swindon based CALM, a parent run support charity for children diagnosed with cancer, have received a welcome funding boost of £4000 from Excalibur Communications employees.

CALM charity Swindon accepted the cheque on Tuesday 20 June at the Excalibur headquarters in Peatmoor, with CALM Chairman Richard Crowley and many of the parents who volunteer their time to the vital charity in attendance. They also had a special visitor, Alexa Lewis (pictured).

Alexa was diagnosed with T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (T-ALL) with an mediastinal mass on March 1st 2016, aged 4.

For the first four phases of Alexa’s treatment she went through nine months of intense chemotherapy during which time she received 8 different types of chemotherapy, had 11 lumbar punctures, lost her hair twice, received numerous blood transfusions and was admitted to hospital for various infections.

Alexa started the fifth and final phase of treatment, known as Maintenance in December 2016 and she will finish this in July 2018. This involves taking two chemotherapy medicines at home, one daily and the other once a week, taking steroids 5 days a month, receiving a third chemotherapy medicine at the hospital once a month and having a lumbar puncture every 3 months.

Alexa lives in Swindon with her Mum and older sister. Her treatment is shared between the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford and The Great Western Hospital, Swindon.

CALM Charity Swindon were introduced to Alexa and her family very soon after her initial diagnosis and have offered invaluable support and advice to Alexa’s mum. Alexa and her family have enjoyed some great days out organised and funded by CALM with other CALM families. They also hold regular coffee mornings which is a great opportunity for the children and parents to meet up with people in a similar situation. Alexa and her family are also going on holiday to Weymouth in August which has been organised by CALM which Alexa is very excited about as this will be her first holiday since diagnosis.

Richard said: “CALM is a Swindon based charity for Swindon families, and is run solely by parent volunteers. If families are looking for someone to help and support them after their child has been diagnosed, we are here to support them with our own experiences and more.”

Richard added: “We understand that families want to be able to go on holiday as a unit, and sometimes it’s about simply making memories if the illness is too aggressive. This money from Excalibur will really boost CALM towards it’s £75,000 target that we need to reach every year to continue to provide the level of support we currently do.”

Excalibur employees donate £5 each from their monthly salaries, which is then match funded by the company and donated to chosen charity every three months. CALM was chosen for this quarter by Tarlia Clements and voted in by Excalibur employees. Tarlia has a personal connection to the charity through a local family.

Tarlia said: “A family that that I’m close to had to go through the traumatic experience of losing their child to cancer, and they received some incredible support from CALM so I feel as though any contribution we can make back to them is repaying that in a way.”

“We try to donate to as many local charities as we can, but I felt this personal connection and had to nominate CALM for that reason.”

For more information on CALM Charity Swindon, visit www.calmcharity.org

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