AN Isle of Wight family, who stayed at a charity ‘Home from Home’ for free whilst their son was undergoing gruelling cancer treatment, have revealed their delight at seeing a new facility for families open after backing a campaign.

Ryan Kimber, 19, from Newport was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma a cancerous tumour in January 2016 after experiencing pain in his neck and back which doctors initially put down to a trapped nerve.

Following the shock diagnosis, Ryan underwent many months of treatment far away from home in Southampton. But during this difficult time, Ryan’s family stayed in CLIC Sargent’s ‘Home from Home’ called CLIC Haven near to Southampton Hospital where families can stay for free to be near their child – providing a vital lifeline for families.

Ryan and his family backed the appeal launched earlier this year by CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people, to transform a former bed and breakfast into a new haven called Jean's House for families of children and young people with cancer.

Ryan, now in remission and studying at college with a hope to go into further education next year, said: “It’s amazing to see the house all finished and open, it looks brilliant. The previous Home from Home, CLIC Haven, meant so much to me and my family because it meant we could stay together, avoid financial stress and I wasn’t alone.

“We are proud to have been part of the Jean’s House appeal, which is going to help so many families like ours in the future. We want to thank everyone who has donated and will hopefully continue to support CLIC Sargent.”

The new bigger and better home has seven en-suite family bedrooms, sleeping up to four people, two open plan kitchen/diners, a lounge, dedicated toddler and teenagers’ spaces, and parking, helping families spend more time together during their child’s cancer treatment and avoid often debilitating travel and accommodation costs.

The new home will replace the charity’s existing Home from Home at CLIC Haven which opened in the grounds of Southampton Hospital in 1991 and has supported thousands of families. More than 300 families have stayed at the house over the last two years, many for several months. In 2017/18 there were 113 family stays for an average length of 21 days.

Liz Blunt, CLIC Sargent Fundraising and Engagement Manager for the Isle of Wight, said: “As a charity, we want to say a huge thank you to Ryan and his family, The Isle of Wight County Press and everyone on the Isle of Wight who has donated or given their time to help us transform the property into a lifeline that will help many families for years to come.

“The families we support, many of which come from the Isle of Wight, will benefit from specially-designed rooms offering more space and comfort for families during a really difficult time. The public’s generous support made this happen and it’s important to celebrate this great milestone”