Improving Teenage Cancer Support

Improving Teenage Cancer Support

September, as well as being Blood Cancer Awareness Month is also Childhood Cancer Awareness Month,and I am aware from personal experience, of the unique problems that this age group face when dealing with a cancer diagnosis. However with the rapid increase in use of social media, the younger generation are beginning to find their own voice, and producing innovative ways of combatting those issues.

At times, I feel our young people get forgotten, and I am always happy to have the opportunity to feature young writers. This site is truly international, and Rebecca is a young lady from Italy. She and her friends follow us and after the wonderful post by Emily, started talking about her new project. It is connecting young people around the world, to help them share experiences, and also featuring an online photographic exhibition, I will leave Rebecca to tell you the rest!

“It’s my pleasure to be here and to ‘talk’ to all of you, people of the Chris’s Community, about my new project/website “Adolescenti e cancro” aimed mainly at helping teens and young people with cancer through peer support but first I want to tell you a bit about me. I’m Rebecca, I’m 29 years old and I’m writing from Italy.  I’m an emerging writer. I started to write novels as soon as I learned to write.  Readers really liked my first novel and few months later I got the inspiration to write my second, “Fino all’ultimo respiro” (Until the last breath).

Improving Teenage Cancer Support (2)

The plot appeared out of the blue and since involved a friendship among two Scottish teens – one of which is living with leukaemia – I thought “wow, that’s an interesting topic for sure but it’s going to be hard to write about it”. Before I start off writing a novel I always do my research and so I did for “Fino all’ultimo respiro”; that’s why I was afraid I wouldn’t even be able to finish the novel, because I had to read and listen to stories of teens and young people who have or have had cancer and I thought they would have been full of pain, sadness and death all made worst by their young ages; I thought the topic would depress me and lead me to stop writing the novel, but obviously I hadn’t a clue about the strength and courage of these young people!

Their stories, their voices, their smiles blew me away. It’s hard to explain in English but I can say they opened my eyes, they taught me we can give a meaning to this life we have, we can make it worthy: I asked myself: “How can these young people be so strong, so positive, so altruist when they have to face such a horrible thing like cancer?”.  These young people lead me on another, different path from the one I’d take if I didn’t have the idea of writing that novel. That’s why I released my book for free, encouraging my readers to donate what they can to Teenage Cancer Trust.

After a few months I had the idea to establish a website/project to do my bit to help teens and young people who have or have had cancer, both from Italy and foreigner; I think it’s my way to tell them “thanks” for all the things they taught me and to try to give them something back. On 2nd September 2014 I launched “Adolescenti e cancro” (which means teens and cancer), an online project open to young people aged 13-24 from the whole world, especially established for those who are or have been treated in children or adults wards and may not know other young people in their offline life who are facing or have faced something similar.

To provide them with a good social support system, they can use the website to connect with other young people in similar situations (and talk to them through email).  Also, they can read stories from other patients and survivors, watch their videos, take part in our initiatives, and send their own material to be shared on the website so they can help others! We also want to  provide Italian teens currently undergoing treatment with free gift boxes to make life a little nicer. Our first initiative is the online photographic exhibition “I’m beautiful” open to girls 13-24 who have or have had cancer, its main goal is to remember to people that inner strength, love, courage, altruism and love for life are what make a person really beautiful. (if you or someone you know would love to know more or get involved: http://adolescentiecancro.weebly.com/im-beautiful.html).

Improving teenage cancer support

We also want to spread the word about the importance of becoming blood/bone marrow donors and for doing this we collaborate with our local branch of the Italian nationwide organization for bone marrow donors. If you or someone you know would love to get involved or to follow us to keep updated with the many  things we’ve got in mind, please visit us at http://adolescentiecancro.weebly.com (we’ve got English subsections too) Or like us on Facebook (we write in English too): http://www.facebook.com/adolescentiecancro Wish you a wonderful day, and thanks to Chris for this space! Ciao!”

I would like to thank Rebecca for sharing her incredible story with us, and as usual if you could please support and share where you can, it would be appreciated by all.

The Grove Hotel Bournmouth
 I am very pleased to be an official Support Partner of  The Grove Hotel in Bournemouth, which is the only hotel in the UK specifically for people affected by  cancer.
7 Comments
  1. Thanks for this Chris! And thanks so much to those who liked and shared the piece! If you want to follow our journey and help us grow please consider clicking “like” on our Facebook page as well, thanks a lot! http://www.facebook.com/adolescentiecancro

  2. Thanks so much for sharing your story and work with us Rebecca. I am so pleased to see these new initiatives for young people growing, and I wish you well with everything. Chris

  3. Hi everyone, we’re here for young people when someone close has cancer, or another life-threatening illness. It’s so hard for siblings or younger family members when someone close is ill, so that’s why we’re here. http://www.hopesupport.org.uk

  4. Great work you guys do and thank you so much for pointing out your services. My feeling is that thanks to organisations like yours, things are slowly improving for young people affected by cancer. I’m always very happy to share this work

  5. Great to see your efforts. Cancer might have life long impacts as well. Support as you get older is important. For some of my thoughts have a look at my blog http://www.youthcancertrust.org/blog-by-thomas-green.aspx

    • Hi Thomas
      Thanks for dropping by the site. Indeed cancer has life long impacts, and support as you get older is important. I work to raise awareness of the lack of support across all ages for people affected by cancer.

      When I got sick, I was shocked to find such little support available for me, and I struggled for a long time, which is why I started the work I do now. What I also found was of course that each age group has their own unique issues, so a one size fits all approach to cancer support would not be effective.

      It was a pleasure for me to read about the work you have been doing, and I would be delighted to feature you on the site if you would find that useful. Keep up the great work you are doing Thomas, and thanks for your comments, Chris

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