Helping families through the most difficult of times

When every day is full of blood tests, hospital visits and the anxiety of seeing a young loved one living with cancer, the thought of getting away seems like a distant dream. 

That is why Whiteleys Retreat in South Ayrshire is so important. 

Nestled in 32 acres of beautiful Scottish countryside, Whiteleys provides therapeutic respite breaks and extended support for all the family. Families like the Patterson’s.  

In February 2020, five-year-old Marc Patterson was diagnosed with cancer. 

Wooden Spoon funds projects helping children with cancer

Speaking about his inspirational youngest son, Bruce said Whiteleys Retreat has been a lifeline for Marc and all the family. 

Bruce explained: “The first few months was pretty intense with hospital chemotherapy and then home-based chemotherapy with lots of visits to the hospital. 

“We couldn’t get away as we had to remain close to the hospital and we were all living with huge stress and worry. 

“The idea of getting away from the daily grind and spending some downtime as a family away from hospitals and treatment seemed impossible. 

“Whiteleys changed all that for us.” 

The Welcome Hub at Whiteleys Retreat benefitted from a £35,000 grant from Wooden Spoon Scotland. 

The retreat offers two high quality, five star assisted, catering lodges where families can relax and spend time together as a family unit, building resilience and strength for the journey ahead. It offers amazing spaces for the whole family to enjoy and explore, both on the doorstep and in the surrounding area. The charity additionally offers Bereavement Breaks, Young Shoulder Programmes, Parents Mindfulness and Sibling Workshops throughout the year. 

While clearly benefitting Marc, Bruce said it was a haven for the entire family. 

He said: “Marc has his daily treatment at 6pm which means it is very difficult to ever switch off. He is an inspiration to us all – he has coped with everything unbelievably well and he never complains. 

“We all just needed to get away – probably more than we actually realised. 

“It takes a very special person to work at Whiteleys and we are so very grateful to them all.” 

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