Over the last three years, CanTeen has done so much for me. They sparked the joy back into my life, and gave me the relief from the agonising stress I was experiencing daily by reminding me that I wasn’t alone.
CanTeen does this for thousands of teenagers around Australia every day, which is something that I find remarkable and strikes close to my heart.
I was 12 years old when cancer first decided to rear its ugly head in my life.
My Dad had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer; it was something that I had never expected to happen. A year and a half later, it had spread to his brain.
It was at this stage, that my mum told my brothers and I about an organisation called CanTeen. She told us that there, people would understand how we feel, the situation we were in, and the struggles we were having with day to day life.
After one program with them, I was hooked. After a year and a half of people not understanding my situation, and friends not knowing what to do, or what to say, I had found a group of individuals who completely understood where I was coming from, and I no longer felt like I was alone.
Within CanTeen, everyone is inclusive and supportive. They offer camps and weekends away to relieve people of stress, and they give back the feeling of fun and enjoyment, something that has been stripped from their home environment.
In early 2015, my Dad passed away; he had fought a very hard battle but couldn’t win.
I don’t think that I would have been able to make those next few months without the support of CanTeen. It is because of this that I believe CanTeen needs to become better known.
Throughout rural areas, including our own, so many teenagers and young adults are affected by the horrors of their own, like a loved one’s cancer, but don’t have the support that they need or deserve.
So many have never heard of CanTeen, or what they do. And after all the support and encouragement I’ve been given, I wanted to give back, to help spread the message: no one is alone.
I wanted to give back, to help spread the message: no one is alone.
Cancer has the ability to really screw up your life, whatever your age. But it has a different effect on teenagers; it removes the fun, the laughter and the fact that you are still a kid.
But CanTeen brings that back into your life, and makes you realise that life is worth living.