The Need

Willow supports young adults, aged 16 to 40, who are living with a life-threatening illness or life-limiting condition. We aim to support 1,000 seriously ill young adults in 2023, but the need is much greater.

Every week, 300 young adults aged 16 to 40 are diagnosed with cancer. That is nearly 16,000* young people each year whose lives are cruelly interrupted, and who face a lot of uncertainty and lost opportunities in the prime of their lives.

A cancer diagnosis in the age range 16 to 40 is relatively rare, accounting for just 4.3%* of all cancers diagnosed in the UK annually. This makes the cancer journey very lonely and isolating.

In addition we have estimated that up to 5,000 young adults* living with degenerative, genetic and metabolic illnesses become eligible for our Special Day services every year. For these young adults there is little support available that simply focuses on quality of life.

*Cancer Research UK and Willow

Range of services

Willow is open to all 16-40 year olds in the UK being treated for a life-threatening illness. We offer a range of experiences to suit everyone, including:

Special Days Out: a tailor-made experiences, which can be a day trip or include an overnight stay.

Special Breaks: longer breaks which include holiday parks and self-catering accommodation.

Special Days at Home: bringing the Special Days experience to your home or garden.

Special Treats: luxury gift boxes to give you a boost, delivered directly to your door.

Medical expertise

Willow has a team of Medical Advisors who work with your health professional to ensure that everything we plan together is completely safe.

One of our Medical Advisors, Beverly Barclay MBE, has over 30 years experience in palliative care for young people. She tells us:

“Willow’s work makes a huge difference to people. It gives them something to focus on and definitely something to look forward to. When applicants are going through treatment it gives them a reason to keep going and gives them hope, which is extremely important. People want to make memories with families and friends and Willow helps them to do this. It really is an amazing charity.”

Personal Service

Every Special Day and Treat box is arranged by one of our Willow Coordinators. They are here to ensure that you get the experience that’s perfect for you. They’ll talk to you about your interests and tastes, and help put together something really special.