You may have seen an episode recently as part of Channel 4â€™s series, The Secret Millionaire. One of the charities to receive a donation from the millionaire, Ivan Massow, was CCLASP. Children with Cancer and Leukaemia Advice and Support for Parents.
Ivan Massow saw a gap in the gay insurance market, and made his millions there. He came across the charity during his stay in Pilton, a socially challenged part of Edinburgh. CCLASP does many wonderful things. Essentially they support over 500 families throughout Scotland who have cancer, leukaemia or other life threatening illnesses. They help those children to enjoy themselves during this difficult time in their lives.
What makes CCLASP different is that all the volunteers who provide support to the parents have been through the horrors of the same experience themselves, or still are experiencing them. Valerie talked with me about some excellent networking techniques she uses to ensure that the parents gain full benefit from gatherings, as well as the telephone support line they provide. The benefits are invaluable.
At the end of Ivan Massowâ€™s time with CCLASP, he decided to donate Â£50,000 to the charity. Off camera, he also paid for the broken minibus windows inflicted on the vehicle whilst Valerie and Ivan were visiting a very unwell child. They had to be repaired immediately, as the minibus was needed to take children to hospital later in the day.
During the program he stated that the Â£50,000 was to be used to reopen CCLASP’s resource centre at the Sick Childrenâ€™s Hospital in Edinburgh which had closed down previously due to lack of funds.
After filming Valerie and Ivan had a further chat, and agreed that his most generous donation would be used to assist with the charityâ€™s colossal running costs of up to Â£400,000 a year. To give you an idea, CCLASPâ€™s minibus has running costs of Â£10,000 a year. This is their fourth minibus in twelve years. It is used to transport children to and from the various hospitals in Scotland, for radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment. Presently only Valerieâ€™s husband Bill drives for the charity. He drives over much of Scotland daily. Valerie agreed that he was shattered at the end of each day but added, â€œYes, but imagine how good he feelsâ€.
CCLASP also assist with the cost of various holidays they facilitate, from Disneyland in California or Paris, to their lovely cottage in Muthill, Perthshire. They provide Christmas presents and events to approximately 300 children at an overall cost of around Â£20,000.
The Christmas party Valerie has created for the children is the most wonderful art of imagination. Naturally I cannot disclose details. Let us simply say the overall cost of this day alone is close to Â£10,000.
When considering being charitable over the festive period, if you were able to think of CCLASP, there are a lot of children in Scotland who would be extremely grateful.
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