A MUM whose family stayed at a charity "Home from Home" while she underwent gruelling cancer treatment as a child, is backing an appeal for a similar facility closer to home.

Suzie Nielson, now 44, was diagnosed with advanced kidney cancer, Wilms Tumour, at the age of seven. She was given just a ten per cent chance of survival and underwent surgery, intensive radiotherapy and 18 months of chemotherapy.

During this time, Suzie's parents and three-month-old baby sister stayed in a CLIC Sargent's Home from Home near Bristol Hospital, where she was being treated. The facility offers families a place to stay for free, to be near their child.

Suzie, who now lives in Corfe Mullen, has fortunately been cancer-free for many years and she and her own family are now keen to give something back to help support other families. They are backing the appeal to transform a former bed and breakfast into a new Home from Home near Southampton Hospital, where the majority of young cancer patients from the area are treated.

She said: "I know how important having a Home from Home is to stay in close by to Southampton Hospital, as my parents stayed in one for many weeks when I was a patient at Bristol Children’s Hospital. They loved staying at the house because it was so close to the hospital and meant they could save time and be close to me.”

CLIC Sargent are hoping to open the new facility, called Jean's House, this autumn, providing vital free accommodation for young patients and their families with seven en-suite family bedrooms, two open-play kitchen/diners, two lounges and a teenagers' space.

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.

The charity has launched a fundraising appeal to cover the £1.6million cost for buying and fully adapting the building. More than £1.3million pounds has already been raised and now CLIC Sargent needs to raise the remaining £300,000 to fully renovate and furnish the house.

If you would like to fundraise, email Liz.Blunt@clicsargent.org.uk or phone 07944 696 858.