Candis Big Give Christmas Challenge Charities 2017

Now in its eighth year, our big fundraising initiative has raised more than £9 million for well-deserving causes. The money has funded important research into treatments and cures for conditions including muscular dystrophy, Rett syndrome and Type 1 diabetes; to provide emotional and practical support to hundreds of families and individuals in need; and to help to create happy memories for many seriously ill children and their families through camps, summer holidays and granted wishes. This year, we are thrilled to welcome back familiar names including Cancerkin, PTSD Resolution and JDRF. We also have some fantastic new charities on board, including Family Fund, Baby Lifeline and The Brain Tumour Charity. Scroll down and read on to find out about some of the charities taking part, and the projects they are raising money for here. By subscribing to Candis, you are already making a difference to these charities as it’s your subscriptions that enable us to make our donations. However, you can help raise even more by making a special donation during The Candis Big Give Christmas Challenge (28 November – 5 December). This will be doubled by our match-funding pot while funds last.  Merry Christmas and see you next year! The Candis Big Give.

Details of the Candis Big Give Christmas Challenge Charities 2017

Action for ME

What it does: Create a greater awareness and understanding of ME and ensure that those affected by the condition get the care and support they need.

Candis Big Give project: The money raised will go towards supporting those affected by ME by funding a telephone support service, support services for children with ME and their families, and the development and maintenance of an online ME centre. It will also help the charity to continue to increase understanding of the condition in health and education professionals and policymakers.

Location: National

Fundraising target: £90,000


Action for Stammering Children

What it does: Offer specialist help and support to transform the lives of young people who stammer and their families.

Candis Big Give project: To provide more than 600 phone calls by trained speech and language therapists to young people with stammers, to respond to their concerns and provide them with guidance, information and support.

Location: National

Fundraising target: £30,000


Action Medical Research

What it does: Find and fund the cutting-edge medical research across the UK most likely to make a difference to the lives of sick children of all ages.

Candis Big Give project: To help to fund research into new treatments for juvenile Batten disease, which is a rare and fatal inherited disease with devastating symptoms, including loss of vision, epilepsy, psychiatric issues and severe disability. The condition currently has no cure or effective treatment.

Location: National

Fundraising target: £40,000


Baby Lifeline

What it does: Support the care of pregnant women and newborn babies worldwide by raising funds to purchase maternity equipment, training maternity healthcare providers and carrying out relevant research to improve care.

Candis Big Give project: To help to prevent stillbirth and neonatal deaths and avoid preventable brain injuries in newborn babies by providing monitoring equipment and associated staff training to maternity units across the UK.

Location: National

Fundraising target: £60,000


Breast Cancer Haven

What it does: Provide free emotional and physical support to anyone suffering from breast cancer.

Candis Big Give project: The money raised will help the charity to provide its bespoke free programme of care to 50 visitors. The programme offers emotional support and complementary therapies to help breast cancer patients who are struggling to cope with the impact of their diagnosis and debilitating side effects of treatment.

Location: National

Fundraising target: £44,600



What it does: Offer emotional and practical support to people affected by breast cancer.

Candis Big Give project: To fund a wide range of complementary therapies and exercise groups, which are offered free of charge to those diagnosed with breast cancer. Complementary therapies and physical activity can help patients to feel calmer and more in control and improve well-being during this stressful and traumatic time.

Location: London

Fundraising target: £10,000


Doncaster Deaf Trust

What it does: Provide education, training, care and support to children and young people who have a range of disabilities classified under the umbrella term communication deficit disorders, empowering them to be resilient, independent and skilled and achieve their future aspirations.

Candis Big Give project: To build a second care home for young people who have a disability, as the care home the charity currently manages is massively oversubscribed. Building another specialised care home will allow them to support more people who have disabilities, to give them the same life chances as the majority of young people.

Location: Doncaster

Fundraising target: £8,400



What it does: Raise money to take children with a serious illness or disability on holiday to Orlando, Florida.

Candis Big Give project: To send 16 children with a serious illness or disability on a ten-day trip to Orlando. The money will cover all costs for the trip, including travel and food, accommodation, medical expenses, entry to theme parks, a dolphin swim and reunion parties, giving them a much-needed opportunity to have fun, build their confidence and develop lifelong friendships.

Location: National

Fundraising target: £56,000


Family Fund

What it does: Give grants to families on a low income raising a disabled or seriously ill child.

Candis Big Give project: To acknowledge the challenges faced by siblings of disabled or seriously ill children and thank them for the care and support they provide with a £50 gift or experience.

Location: National

Fundraising target: £4,400



What it does: Support medical research into finding cures, treatment and prevention strategies for Type 1 diabetes.

Candis Big Give project: To fund a clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy, safety and usage of the artificial pancreas, developed by Dr Roman Hovorka, which will greatly reduce the burden of Type 1 diabetes by improving the management of blood glucose levels.

Location: National

Fundraising target: £90,000


Joss Searchlight

What it does: Assist families affected by childhood cancer by offering emotional and practical support and granting wishes for children.

Candis Big Give project: To create awareness of the challenges children with cancer face in schools – where many struggle to cope due to silent bullying, depression, and learning difficulties, which most will be left with – and guide teachers in dealing with distressed families following a child’s cancer diagnosis. The money will be used to produce an insightful film, film clips for online media usage, and downloadable information packs for schools.

Location: National

Fundraising target: £19,272


Julia’s House – The Dorset & Wiltshire Children’s Hospices

What it does: Provide respite care to children who have life-limiting conditions in its hospices and in children’s homes across Dorset and Wiltshire.

Candis Big Give project: The money raised will help to fund the salaries of a nurse and two senior carers to support teenagers who have degenerative conditions as they go through tough challenges and face up to their declining health. They will help the teenagers to form a supportive “Teen Gang” based at the charity’s two hospices, where they can form friendships, take part in fun activities and go on outings, which will also be paid for by the money raised.

Location: Dorset and Wiltshire

Fundraising target: £34,000


Muscular Dystrophy UK 

What it does: Provide practical information, advice and emotional support for individuals who have muscle-wasting conditions, their carers and families, and fund research into treatments and cures.

Candis Big Give project: The money raised will go towards employing two PhD students and a clinical research fellow for a year who will be involved in ongoing research projects to help to find effective treatments and cures for muscle-wasting conditions, which lead to increasing disability and can potentially shorten the lives of those living with them, and for which there is currently no cure. By supporting and funding top-quality research and the new generation of neuromuscular researchers, the charity increases the chances of finding vital treatments or a cure.

Location: National

Fundraising target: £90,000


Over The Wall

What it does: Provide free therapeutic recreation camps for children and families affected by serious and life-limiting illnesses.

Candis Big Give project: To run four family camps across the UK for families who have children living with serious or life-limiting illness. The camps provide a much-needed respite from everyday pressures and frustrations, as well as helping families to increase their confidence and practical skills, connect with those in a similar position, and relax and enjoy each other’s company.

Location: National

Fundraising target: £25,000


PTSD Resolution

What it does: Provide counselling to armed-forces veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Candis Big Give project: To fund therapy for armed-forces veterans and reservists suffering from PTSD. The trauma can cause flashbacks, nightmares, anger and depression, which can lead to violence, substance abuse, job loss, family breakdown and suicide. Eight out of ten people experience success with the therapy offered.

Location: National

Fundraising target: £20,000


Rethink Mental Illness

What it does: Provide practical and emotional support to anyone affected by mental illness, challenge attitudes about mental illness and campaign for policy change.

Candis Big Give project: To set up a new peer support group for people severely affected by mental illness, to help to improve mental health and well-being, increase skills and training opportunities, and reduce social isolation.

Location: National

Fundraising target: £4,204


Reverse Rett 

What it does: Work to accelerate treatments and cures for Rett syndrome and related MECP2 disorders.

Candis Big Give project: The money raised will fund the work of the MECP2 Gene Therapy Consortium, to support its goal to find a cure for Rett syndrome. The Consortium, which was launched by the Rett Syndrome Research Trust, is a collaboration of four labs that are working together to develop effective methods to use gene therapy – where an unhealthy gene is replaced with a healthy one – to reverse Rett syndrome. Informed by the progress of work funded to date, Rett scientists are now working to drive gene therapy into human clinical trials.

Location: National

Fundraising target: £80,000


Sebastian’s Action Trust
What it does: Offer emotional and practical support and free specialist respite holidays to seriously ill children and their families.

Candis Big Give project: To develop a new family outreach hub that will provide an accessible one-stop-shop service provision to families with life-limited and seriously ill children, where they can go for information, advice and support, and to meet others with similar circumstances.

Location: Berkshire

Fundraising target: £24,000


SeeAbility (The Royal School for the Blind)

What it does: Support people who have sight loss and multiple disabilities.

Candis Big Give project: To provide a new outreach service for people with juvenile Batten disease, which is a rare, life-limiting disease that affects vision, mobility and speech. The outreach liaison nurse will support families with advice, training and signposting, and the charity will also provide an outreach clinic four times a year at its specialist centre, run by a team of skilled clinicians and professionals with a good understanding of the condition.

Location: National

Fundraising target: £50,000


Sohana Research Fund

What it does: Fund research projects and clinical trials that aim to lead to effective treatments and a cure for recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa and other forms of epidermolysis bullosa (EB), which are inherited skin disorders.

Candis Big Give project: To generate mesenchymal stromal cells to be used to treat children with EB at Great Ormond Street Hospital. EB is a very painful skin condition that causes blistering and skin loss at the mildest trauma. Evidence from a recent clinical trial suggests that the cells reduce inflammation, discomfort and pain in sufferers, and improve wound-healing times.

Location: National

Fundraising target: £20,000


Spinal Muscular Atrophy Support UK

What it does: Support and empower individuals and families affected by spinal muscular atrophy, which is a genetic condition that causes progressive muscle weakness and loss of movement.

Candis Big Give project: To provide free practical and emotional support to children who have spinal muscular atrophy and their families through an outreach service, social events, a volunteer peer support network and the provision of information on current research and treatments.

Location: National

Fundraising target: £12,000


St Peter & St James Hospice

What it does: Provide specialist care to people who are terminally ill, helping them to live as well as possible with their illness, and support to families to help them to cope in difficult times.

Candis Big Give project: To make the hospice “dementia friendly” by delivering staff dementia training, appointing a dementia lead, and creating a calm physical environment, to meet the needs of patients who have dementia in addition to a terminal illness in Sussex – which has the highest prevalence of dementia in the country.

Location: Sussex

Fundraising target: £40,000


The Brain Tumour Charity

What it does: Fund pioneering research, raise awareness and provide support for people affected by brain tumours.

Candis Big Give project: To create and launch a national early-diagnosis campaign for adults, so that brain tumours are treated earlier with the best treatment at the right time to increase survival rates. The campaign will focus on public and professional awareness, increasing knowledge for people concerned about symptoms and for healthcare professionals, giving them confidence to refer people for a potentially life-saving scan. The project aims to halve diagnosis times or reduce the number of visits to a health professional from the onset of symptoms to diagnosis.

Location: National

Fundraising target: £57,500


The Clatterbridge Cancer Charity

What it does: Raise funds to benefit the 30,000 individual patients each year being treated for or recovering from cancer at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, which is a UK leader in the delivery of cancer care.

Candis Big Give project: The money raised will help to provide two counselling rooms at the new comprehensive specialist cancer hospital being built in the centre of Liverpool, where patients and family members can get support and explore the difficult aspects of their illness with someone impartial in a confidential setting.

Location: Liverpool

Fundraising target: £40,000


The Lullaby Trust

What it does: Offer specialist support to bereaved parents when a baby dies suddenly and unexpectedly.

Candis Big Give project: To fund a three-year PhD student researching into Sudden Unexpected Infant and Childhood Deaths (SUID/SUDC) supervised by a paediatric pathologist, based at Great Ormond Street Hospital. The research will look at how bacteria could be related to SUID and whether certain risk factors can be identified, to help to gain an understanding of why babies die suddenly and unexpectedly and to prevent these tragedies – which currently affect 250 babies and infants each year – from happening.

Location: National

Fundraising target: £60,000


Theodora Children’s Charity

What it does: Improve the lives of children in hospital through weekly visits from specially trained entertainers called Giggle Doctors.

Candis Big Give project: To boost the morale of sick, disabled and terminally ill children through regular visits from Giggle Doctors, who are professional performers trained to work in the hospital environment. The money raised will help to fund visits from Giggle Doctors to 30,000 children in hospital, helping to distract them from the pain, worry and fear that can accompany a hospital stay through music, magic and laughter.

Location: National

Fundraising target: £72,000


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