TODAY The Sun on Sunday launches its national Christmas card competition to give children with cancer a special festive treat.
Our Christmas Cards for Children campaign – in collaboration with The Entertainer – means seriously ill young people in hospital on December 25th will receive a gift and a visit from Santa this year thanks to YOUR generosity.
Little Lana Nixon, seven, from Tyne and Wear, has spent the last four Christmases either in hospital or receiving treatment for a rare form of brain cancer.
But this year she can’t wait to take part in her school’s nativity play for the first time.
Lana is just one of thousands of children and young people diagnosed with cancer every year in the UK who spend weeks, months or even years in hospital.
The charity Children With Cancer UK helps them and their families while raising money for research.
And that’s why we’re asking you to help them put a smile on the faces of sick children this year.
Since we only have to sleep 100 times before the big day, we would like your child to draw or paint a special picture with their favorite festive image.
Winners will be selected from three categories: under five years old; aged six to ten years; and ages 11 to 16.
The three winning artworks – from aspiring Banksys or mini-Monets – will be available for sale as Christmas cards in Entertainer stores and also online.
Then we need you, our army of big-hearted readers, to go out and buy these cards to raise funds to distribute toys to young people with our charity partner Children With Cancer UK.
Lana’s mother Gemma, 37, said: “In November 2018, when she was just two years old, Lana was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor known as ATRT – a fast-growing cancer of the brain and spinal cord. Doctors gave her a five percent chance of survival.
“After surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy she suffered another relapse at Christmas 2020 and we were told her cancer had returned.
“She had further operations and further rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in January 2021.
“Last Christmas she was diagnosed with epilepsy as a result of treatment, so we haven’t had a normal Christmas since she was two.
“This campaign is magical. Lana can’t wait to enter so she can help other children, and her brother Jonah, 11, will also be entering.”
Gemma said not being able to leave your child at home over Christmas because of an illness such as cancer was a harrowing and worrying ordeal.
She added: “It’s frightening not knowing whether they will survive another year.
“That’s why this campaign is so beautiful. It will bring a special Christmas to families and children who need some normality more than anything.”
Jo Elvin, chief executive of Children with Cancer UK, said: “I am so grateful that The Sun on Sunday and The Entertainer are supporting children and young people with cancer this Christmas.”
“At a particularly difficult time of year, Santa Claus will be giving gifts to children and young people who may not be able to make it home for Christmas.
“I encourage all aspiring artists to get involved and I’m really looking forward to seeing the winning tickets on sale at The Entertainer.”
The competition will be judged by a panel led by The One Show star and former CBBC presenter Angellica Bell.
Mum-of-two Angellica said: “I’m delighted to be taking part in Sun’s Christmas Cards for Children campaign on Sunday.
“I still have dozens of drawings that kids did for me when I was at CBBC. I will keep her forever.
“All the wonderful artwork that was sent to me was one of the highlights of my work in children’s television.
“I was always so touched that they took the time to create these wonderful images and send them to us.
“Children’s artwork is always very special and I’m incredibly excited to see all the wonderful Christmas creations that will be created for this competition.”
Imogen Turner, ten, and her five-year-old sister Elodie from Warwickshire were among the first to take part in our competition.
Mum Rebecca said: “The girls are really looking forward to taking part in the competition and have enjoyed putting their ideas on paper.
“It’s so exciting that her drawings could appear in stores and even better to know that they are supporting a good cause.”
A spokesman for The Entertainer, where you can stock up on the winning Christmas cards, said: “We believe the wonder of childhood is a right, not a privilege.”
“And we know this campaign will make a big difference.”
How to take part
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org before Sunday October 1st with the heading CHRISTMAS and a photo of your child’s drawing.
Make sure the picture is well lit and include your name, your child’s name, age, address and a phone number.
Add a few words about why they attended.
The original design MUST be on A4 paper in landscape or portrait format.
Keep it safe in case it is one of the winners and needs to be scanned for use.