Special day of animal fun offers respite for Southend families affected by childhood cancer

Special day of animal fun offers respite for Southend families affected by childhood cancer

Local charity Gold Geese arranges gold train London Zoo VIP experience

Three animal-mad families affected by childhood cancer experienced a day to remember this weekend thanks to local charity Gold Geese.

Gold Geese, based in Leigh-on-Sea, organised an all-expenses paid trip to London Zoo for Ahmed, Edward and George and their families as a special treat to offer respite from the challenges of living with cancer and to help them connect with others in the same situation.

The charity provides practical and emotional support to families of children and young people fighting cancer in the Southend and Basildon areas, with support tailored to each family’s needs. It ranges from funding for mental health therapy and food shop vouchers to toys, weekend trips away and practical help with travel to and from hospital.

The families travelled from Southend Central on a special gold c2c train, decorated with Gold Geese and information about the charity.

Katie Southgate, founder of Gold Geese, explained:

“Childhood cancer causes a huge upheaval for everyone in the family – emotionally, physically and often financially. You do everything in your power to support your child through treatments that are often painful and invasive. Many parents need to give up work or cut down on their hours to manage hospital appointments, and siblings can feel helpless or guilty that they are well.

We organise respite activities like day trips, treats and mini breaks for our Gold Geese families as they’re a massive boost in helping a family bond, taking their minds off the situation and allowing them the opportunity to enjoy time together like any other family.”

Kirsty, who came along on the zoo trip with her son, Edward, added:

“I can’t thank Gold Geese enough for today. Edward has had such an amazing day. We felt really normal today and it was lovely.”

Fatma, mum to Ahmed who also came, said:

“Thank you for such a memorable day! The kids are so, so happy and still buzzing.          Such a lovely day had by all.”

Gold Geese would like to thank the staff at LionTrust, London Zoo and c2c for their kindness in helping organise this trip.

September is childhood cancer awareness month, and around 1,900 children in the UK are diagnosed with cancer each year1.

Gold Geese launched the gold train with c2c at the start of September as part of its ‘Go Gold’ campaign which encourages the community to support local children living with cancer by raising funds and increasing awareness of the signs and symptoms of childhood cancer.

A competition to win a six-month c2c season travel pass runs until 1st October, encouraging people to share trainspotting selfies with the gold train on Instagram, tagging @goldgeese and@c2c_rail.

Rob Mullen, Managing Director at local rail firm, c2c, said,

“We were pleased to play a small role in such a special day out for these wonderful families and again show our support for Gold Geese at the weekend. It’s been great to see so many pictures and selfies snapped of the gold train throughout the month, helping to raise awareness for childhood cancer awareness month and Gold Geese. We are really proud to support such a brilliant local charity.”

To enter the online competition, take a photo of the Gold Geese c2c train and share it on Instagram, tagging @GoldGeese and @c2c_rail and using the hashtags #weflytogether #gogold and #childhoodcancerawareness. Full T&Cs at www.instagram.com/goldgeese

Gold Geese receives no Government funding and relies on community support and fundraising to do its work.

For support, information or to donate visit www.goldgeese.org. You can also donate to Gold Geese via text. Text GOLD followed by the amount you wish to donate to 70580 (for example, GOLD 50 to donate £50). Texts cost the donation amount plus one standard network rate message.

Jamie Langstone