AS young cancer patients have been unable to ring the bell this year, a team of people came up with an inventive idea.

CLIC Sargent social workers and nurses from Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton have been delivering end of treatment celebration boxes to the children in their homes.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, children who have completed their cancer treatment were unable to ring the bell on hospital wards with family and friends.

But instead, the children can now enjoy the celebration box.

The box includes fairy lights, balloons, glow sticks, messages from all the team involved in their care, a special ‘bead of courage’, a certificate and most importantly a little bell for them to ring.

The CLIC Sargent team and NHS nurses arrange a video call with the young person, their family and friends, so everyone can still celebrate with them as they open their box and ring their bell.

Paediatric oncology outreach nurse at Musgrove Park Hospital, Olivia Lines, said: “It’s just amazing to turn up to these families’ houses and see their reaction.

"They really loved going through the box and seeing the different things in there: we put in fairy lights, little gifts and then some notes from all the professionals that were involved in their care to say how well they’d done, how well they’d got through treatment.

"It’s just something for them to keep and something to remember that day by because it’s such a massive journey for them to go through.”

Two-year-old Isla is one of the children who received a celebration box. She was diagnosed with a brain tumour at eight months old.

Her mum, Carly Ackroyd, said: "Ringing the bell was something that we longed for, more so for our six-year-old son because it was a finish line for him. It meant no more treatment for his baby sister and we wouldn’t have to live in hospital away from him anymore. He was literally counting down the days.

"When we realised this wasn’t going to be possible because of the Covid restrictions in hospitals we felt heartbroken; but our nurse Olivia told us she was going to bring the bell to us so we could celebrate in our own home, all together.

"We could also set up a video link so that our friends and family, some of who live 350 miles away, could watch too.

“Cancer is tough and it’s lonely, but we try to stay positive and focus on Isla and her brother.

"We are so grateful for all the support from CLIC Sargent.We would have been lost without them.

"Isla finally rang the bell as a two-year-old with a big smile on her face, with her brother by her side and it was so emotional. It was the best day of my life and I felt so proud of them both. I will forever be grateful to everyone involved and making that day happen.”

CLIC Sargent is a charity for young cancer patients and their families.

Lin Snell, CLIC Sargent social worker, said it is important for young people and children to mark the end of treatment milestone.

"Olivia and I thought that if they can’t celebrate it in hospital, then it’s our responsibility to enable to them to celebrate it at home.

“A child’s end of cancer treatment can be a time of mixed emotions for parents who are often exhausted and anxious about their child’s future.

"CLIC Sargent Social workers work alongside the wider oncology team to organise face to face and more recently virtual end of treatment days for parents where they can speak openly with other parents who have had similar experiences."