Glade garden opening party

New garden to support children going through cancer treatment

The Royal Marsden has opened The Glade garden to support the emotional wellbeing of children going through cancer treatment and their families.

Blue Tobin in the Glade garden

The Glade Garden is the brain child of Jackie Debonnaire whose daughter, Ella Grace, was treated at The Royal Marsden for leukaemia until she died in October 2012.

Funded by supporters of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity together with generous contributions from garden and building suppliers, the garden will provide a safe and peaceful space for children undergoing treatment to enjoy the outdoors.

Jackie says: “Children going through cancer treatment have very fragile immune systems and often cannot go outside and play like other children.

“For the best part of 11 months, while Ella was going through treatment, we felt trapped indoors – unable to let her go outside and play like a normal child.

“The Oak Centre for Children and Young People at The Royal Marsden is such an incredible place and they provided the very best treatment and care for Ella, and all the other children. But it has so much to do, clinically, that I wanted to help them to provide something extra, and create a safe, stimulating and fun outdoor space, where children and parents can go and find some kind of normality in a world bound by regime and uncertainty.”

As a mum of a cancer patient and a garden designer, I knew that a specially designed space could bring so much pleasure to the children, as well as their families.

Jackie Debonnaire
People at the Glade garden opening

The garden design team  worked with Allergy UK to ensure that the trees and plants chosen for the garden were safe and suitable for children going through treatment.

Carly Snowball, Divisional Nurse Director for Children and Young People said the new garden would be of huge benefit to the children and their families and friends.

“Children going through cancer treatment are still children who want to go outside and play, and it’s fantastic that we now have a lovely outdoor area where they can let off steam and run around! It will also be somewhere where families and friends can go and take a moment to relax, away from the clinical area of the centre which can sometimes be very busy. 

We are incredibly grateful to Jackie, The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and all their donors, together with all the suppliers and businesses who have given their time and expertise to creating this wonderful space for us.”

Take a look at some of the photos from the garden opening below.