At Solving Kids' Cancer we understand that the situation with Covid-19 will have placed a significant additional burden on many families with neuroblastoma. We also know that a lot of what the population at large are experiencing right now; heightened infection risk, sanitisation, shielding, isolation, no visitors, no school, loss of income and financial distress, is something families of children with cancer are already very well accustomed to.  And whilst we are extremely pleased to partner with J-A-C-K and launch our Emergency Fund to relieve some of the acute suffering of those in our community worst hit as a result of the pandemic, we're aware that the suffering and threat to life caused by neuroblastoma itself has not diminished in the meantime. Every life lost prematurely is a human tragedy but never more so than when it's the life of a child, something exemplified by public reactions over the last few weeks. Neuroblastoma remains as much of a deadly threat to children as it did a month ago, and our core work remains as relevant and vitally important today as ever.

As a principal funder of clinical trials for children with neuroblastoma in the UK, it's no exaggeration to say that lives are depending on us and our ability to continue to push forward the boundaries of clinical research both here and beyond. Our focus remains on moving as quickly as possible to bring the best new treatments and most promising clinical trials to children in the UK. However, the knock-on effects of Covid-19 to clinicians and researchers working in children's cancers has been significant. Balancing being understanding and supportive of the pressures facing our professional colleagues, whilst also recognising that time will not wait for children with neuroblastoma, we have relaxed the deadlines on our open funding calls but still fully expect to award at least two new international research projects by the end of 2020.

Supporting children's fundraising appeals and being the custodian of their funds is our single greatest responsibility to individual families dealing with the horror of a neuroblastoma diagnosis. Our children's appeals remain safe, secure, and supported by our staff. We are working to provide families with the latest and very best available information on the impact of Covid-19 on the clinical trial landscape both in the UK and abroad. The path to a neuroblastoma diagnosis often takes weeks or months of repeat visits to GP surgeries and paediatricians with non-specific symptoms such as fever and fatigue. It's not difficult to see how, amid the lockdown, getting a timely diagnosis may now prove even more challenging. We're here ready to engage and support new families whose lives are thrown into utter turmoil, and who find themselves having to navigate the unfathomable against the backdrop of Covid-19.

Without direct widespread government support, the financial impact of the country's lockdown on the charitable sector will be profound. Undoubtedly, Solving Kids' Cancer will find itself among those severely affected, particularly by a near total loss of income from events and community fundraising. With no obvious strategy for exiting lockdown, and talk of restrictions being eased and reimposed as necessary to keep infection rates under control, we see the impact as being prolonged. Thankfully, we entered this crisis with a strong reserves position that allows us to retain our staff team and work as near to full capacity as current conditions and individual circumstances allow. I am proud of what Solving Kids' Cancer, in partnership and collaboration with other charitable organisations, scientific friends and professional colleagues, has achieved over the course of the last few years. However, for us to move forward and build on the strong platforms we've created, we're going to need everybody who shares our vision of no child dying of neuroblastoma and who wants to see us make even more of a difference to children's lives, to champion our cause far and wide in order to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 and replenish lost funds.

If we can learn anything from the current crisis, I think it's in the way the country has united and pulled together to fight Covid-19.

We need to stand up and make others see neuroblastoma for the health emergency that it is. We need to redouble our efforts to engage with scientists, researchers, clinicians, and challenge them to find answers. We need to ensure no child dies because they've run out of treatment options, and put an end to the horrific pain and suffering children endure as a result of this terrible disease. We need to make certain no family goes through this journey feeling isolated, alone, and facing hardships that may take them to breaking point.

I remain convinced we can do all of this, but I know we cannot do it alone and without help. Only by working in partnership with others towards our common goals will we ultimately make the progress that our children require of us. The more money we can put to work on their behalf, the more we can do, the more we can achieve, and the faster we can achieve it. When we look back on this period in five years time I really hope we can say that whilst it was an incredibly difficult time for the country, for families, and for charities, the manner in which our community united and rallied as we came through it also marked a real turning point in the fight against neuroblastoma.

Nick Bird, Chair of Trustees, Solving Kids’ Cancer