It’s been over four years in the making and help has come from all around the community to set it up, but now the Ryan Lee Trust cancer support centre may finally be opening to users.
Many families have been excitedly waiting for the centre to open on Main Street, Kimberley, giving children with cancer a safe, warm environment to play together while their parents talk over a cuppa.
Founder of the charity, Deb Lee, lost her son Ryan to cancer in 2010, so she knows what kind of support families need.
She said: “It was so important for me to be around people who know and understand what you’re going through, so we wanted to have a centre like this where families can get together in a safe environment.
And Deb can now confirm that it will be opening its doors within the next few weeks.
She added: “We’ve been through a lot and it has seemed nigh on impossible to complete, but we think we are just about there.
The centre has been able to purchase thousands of pounds of specialist equipment to help kids play, thanks wholly to donations made, and further help was provided by local businesses, including Moto services, Sainsbury’s, and Beechdale Brands, while Scope Signs and Wheatley Flooring both donated their products to help build the centre.
Broxtowe Borough Council provided a grant for rent and Kimberley School pupils produced beautiful murals for the walls with a fun jungle theme.
Complete with cushioned areas and supports to help children stand as they do crafts, the centre is ready to accommodate the many families in the area who want to use it.
“The help we’ve received - well we couldn’t imagine it.
“The number of games people have sent in means we now have a whole games room - the community has really come together.”
It was certainly a challenge to finish the centre, with renovation setbacks, and Deb’s unceasing efforts to raise the necessary funds have kept her busy since she founded the charity four years ago.
Six-year-old Maddie Blackmore has already been into the centre to test out the equipment on offer.
Her mum, Michelle, 32, said: “The Ryan Lee Trust offers fantastic support during a confusing and emotional time. It’s a valuable service provided by a family that knows exactly what you’re going through.
“The charity will always be close to our hearts.”