Lodge will help create special family memories

The TCCL Lodge in St Andrews
The TCCL Lodge in St Andrews

The mother of seven-year-old East Neuk boy who died from cancer has spoken of how important it is for families to have quality time together while going though an “absolute nightmare”.

Lynne Allen’s son Ethan died a year after finally being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

During Ethan’s battle against the disease - during which he received brutal chemotherapy and surgery - his family were helped by children’s cancer charity TCCL Lodge (Tayside Children with Cancer and Leukaemia) and committee member Gaye Steel , who was also Ethan’s paediatric oncology nurse.

The charity, which provides practical and financial support for the families of children with cancer, will soon open its holiday lodge in St Andrews following a £500,000 fundraising campaign supported by the Fife Herald and St Andrews Citizen.

Speaking at her home in the East Neuk this week, Lynne described how devastating the loss of Ethan has been for her whole family including husband Craig and Ethan’s younger brother Owen, who was four at the time.

She said: “When Ethan was diagnosed the oncologists were fairly positive he would get treatment and be ok but he hadn’t quite finished his first course of treatment before he said his leg was sore and tests showed the cancer had come back.

“He had an even higher dose of chemo but we were told there was nothing else that could be done.

“At the time Owen was just little and I was torn between staying with Ethan at the Sick Kids in Edinburgh and giving Owen time too. Both Craig and I were unable to work as we had to be together for Ethan and to support each other, and when we were offered financial help from TCCL we didn’t want to take it but it did help a lot.

“Ethan loved Lego and every time he was in hospital we would get a new box of it to build and play with which was great. When we knew we were facing the inevitable TCCL organised for us to have a holiday to Legoland. Ethan wasn’t feeling great then but he loved every minute of it and I’m really glad we went. We were able to share a special time as a family where no-one knew anything about it. We could just be ourselves and feel like a normal family away from hospitals.

“The TCCL Lodge will provide that opportunity for other families to spend precious time together and being close to Ninewells will provide reassurance for parents.”

Just weeks later on May 24, 2012, Ethan sadly lost his brave battle, leaving his family devastated.

“We will never get over it, Lynne, said, “we will always be so proud of Ethan, we lost our precious little boy and Owen lost his big brother and playmate. Spending that special time together that we had in Legoland was something we will always treasure. and we are very grateful to TCCL.”

Since then Owen and his granny have taken part in the fundraising charity walk organised by Anstruther Rotary Club in aid of TCCL and other cancer charities.

“Ethan’s primary school has also supported TCCL.”

TCCL Lodge chairperson Rosalie Wilkie said she was very grateful to Lynne for sharing hjer story as it’s important for people to realise just how important fundraising for the lodge is and the difference it will make to families like Lynne’s.”

For more information on the work of TCCL and the lodge plans visit the websites www.tccl.org.uk and www.tccl-lodge.org.ukand follow the links to see how you can help support the charity and make a donation.