The Sehgal family from Ponteland went through tough times when little Maya battled blood cancer.
She was only a toddler when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in December 2012, but after receiving treatment at the Great North Children’s Hospital – which is based at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle – the five-year-old was given the all-clear at the end of 2015.
Maya’s parents Aman and Nisha, together with other family members and friends, have been tirelessly fund-raising for the children’s cancer ward over the last few years. They have raised in excess of £78,000 through a series of charity events and challenges.
And now they are setting up an emergency fund that will be made available to families of children with cancer being treated at the children’s hospital to assist them in times of financial hardship.
The Inspired by Maya Fund will be administered by CLIC Sargent, a major UK cancer charity for children, young people and their families, and it will be managed by Newcastle Hospitals NHS Charity.
Maya’s father, Aman, said: “Having spent a lot of time at the Great North Children’s Hospital during Maya’s treatment, we wanted to give something back.
“We’ve been on a real rollercoaster over the past few years, but Maya has always received the best possible care from the superb team on the children’s cancer ward and we are so very grateful to them.
“Nisha and I both recognise that we are extremely fortunate but, apart from the huge emotional and physical trauma you obviously go through as a parent when your child is diagnosed with cancer, we know that many families also face unexpected financial consequences.
“As well as increase costs, they can experience loss of income due to caring responsibilities or having to take time off work to attend appointments.
“Inspired by our experience with Maya, we just wanted to help other families who might be facing a similar situation.”
Grants will be provided for families most in need to help with anything from travel costs and hospital parking charges to accommodation, clothing, childcare and food for parents and family members in emergency admission situations.
The Sehgal family will continue their fund-raising and they hope that others will be ‘Inspired by Maya’ to do likewise.
People can donate online at www.justgiving.com/Inspired-by-Maya or call 0191 2137235 for more information about how to organise an event in aid of the fund.
Families who may wish to apply for an emergency grant should speak to their designated CLIC Sargent social worker in the first instance to discuss their needs.