Press release posted July 2023

A charity which was set up in memory of a young artist who found comfort and peace in her holistic way of living has donated funds for a new complementary therapist role at The Christie’s leading unit for teenagers and young adults with cancer.

The Ella Dawson Foundation’s donation will fully fund a band 6 nurse trained in complementary therapy in a 12-month pilot scheme at The Christie hospital, in Manchester, a Principal Treatment Centre (PTC) for teenagers and young adults with cancer.

The foundation will donate the funds to The Christie Charity which supports the work of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust providing enhanced services over and above what the NHS is able to fund.

It is hoped the new role will help ease the often gruelling and highly medicalised journeys of the 270 young people who are treated at The Christie’s bespoke teenage and young adult unit every year.

The foundation, based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, was established in memory of Ella, a young artist who was just 24 when she died in July 2021 following two years of treatment, some at The Christie, for an aggressive form of blood cancer.

Her family - mum Jane, dad Kevin, sister Natasha and Ella’s partner Connor Gamble - launched the foundation knowing there was a need for young people with cancer to access health and wellbeing support during their treatment and for up to 2 years afterwards so they could live well and feel empowered.

Left to right: Ella’s sister Natasha Dawson, with Hanna Simpson, Teenage Cancer Trust lead nurse at The Christie, and Ella’s mum, Jane.

Jane, of Huddersfield, said: “When you have cancer, your life is taken over by relentless, often invasive medical treatments. There’s no question that Ella’s holistic way of living helped her greatly through two years of her cancer journey.

“It gave her a complete sense of oneness and peace in the face of some very tricky treatment. It helped to alleviate her nausea and fatigue and helped balance out the journey she was on by giving her a degree of power over herself and allowing her to live well despite the aggressive treatments. Ella was passionate that holistic support should become part of the standard of care pathway.

“Ella had excellent care at The Christie and everyone went above and beyond. We know she would have been proud to see a full-time therapist support that medical care. Our hope is that, if this pilot is successful, we will look to permanently fund it and expand it to other hospitals.”

Hanna Simpson, Teenage Cancer Trust lead nurse at The Christie, who helped care for Ella, said: “The best legacy Ella could give was her passion for life and that’s what she’s left her family with, which has allowed them to start the foundation and make a difference to other young people.

“This role will become one of the most impactful services we have. The experience for our young people and their families will be incredible. We’re so lucky that the Ella Dawson Foundation has chosen The Christie to be the pilot site.”

Last updated: July 2023