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Why we started Helping Adolescents at the Marsden

Both Karli and Danny considered themselves to be at an in-between age - too old for the paediatric ward and too young for the adult wards. We decided to try and support the Royal Marsden by providing better facilities for 16-25 year olds. We were aware that the Teenage Cancer Trust were in talks with the Royal Marsden to build a state-of-the-art adolescent unit at the Sutton site, and we began raising money to buy equipment and furnishings that Karli and Danny thought would be appropriate for the new unit.

Sadly, on 17 August 2004 Danny lost his battle against the rare form of cancer he suffered, alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma. He will be remembered for his bravery and cheerfulness during his fight. He has inspired his family, friends and other cancer sufferers, and has made the HAM committee determined to help other young people who have to undergo exhausting and often painful treatment at the Royal Marsden Hospital.

Very sadly Karli also lost her battle on 10 July 2010 at the age of 26. Karli never put herself first and showed unfailing care and consideration to others and this shone through in her keenness for HAM to help to make the new unit at Sutton a more 'normal' environment for young adults to stay.

In January 2005 we learned that the Teenage Cancer Trust had been given the go ahead for the new adolescent unit to be built. In the meantime HAM in liaison with the TCT, funded the refurbishment of the 'Teenage Room' on the children's ward - a Chill Out Room providing a 'normal' space where adolescents can temporarily escape the hospital environment. HAM has also been able to supply flat screen TVs and PSPs to the Critical Care Unit and digital radios to one of the wards.

On 26 November 2010 HAM was very proud to present a cheque for £160,000 to the TCT to be used specifically for the purchase of equipment for the Chill Out Room. The new Day Centre for Children and Young People was officially opened on 29 September 2011 by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. In recognition of our help and support, Karli's mother, Judy Broadbent, was invited to the opening of the new unit and was presented to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who were delighted to hear of our work.

Detail from the Chill Out Zone

Detail from the Chill Out Zone