Why we are honouring the life-changing work of the Teenage Cancer Trust
The National Children of Wales Awards are proud to be supporting the Teenage Cancer Trust. Before their first unit opened in 1990, no specialist cancer care for young people existed in the UK within the NHS. Now, the Teenage Cancer Trust is the only UK charity dedicated to providing young people living with cancer specialist care and expert treatment.
Every day in the UK, around seven young people aged from 13-24 receive the devastating news that they have cancer. The Teenage Cancer Trust ensures that no child will ever have to face this terrifying diagnosis alone. They are there every step of the way, supporting the child as well as their family members.
Without the incredible work done by the Teenage Cancer Trust, thousands of children would have to face cancer alone.
Children who are in the care of the Teenage Cancer Trust are encouraged to continue being just that; children. Specialist cancer units exist which bring young people together to be treated. This allows patients to socialise with each other, and find other young people who understand exactly what they’re going through. Together, they can forget about their illness for a while.
Seren, from Ynysddu, can attest to this. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin Lymphoma at nineteen years old.
Speaking about her diagnosis, Seren said:
“I thought ‘Oh my God, I am done for’. The doctors had found a mass the size of a football in my chest”.
She was anxious about being treated next to elderly patients, but was thrilled when she heard that she would be treated next to young people on the Teenage Cancer Trust unit at the University Hospital in Cardiff.
The availability of a Youth Support Coordinator had a hugely positive impact on Seren’s experience. She said:
“The Youth Support Coordinator was great. She organised arts and crafts on the unit, which I loved, as well as lots of social events. These days gave me a sense of normality and reminded me that there is life outside of treatment.
“I made lots of friends on the Teenage Cancer Trust unit. We are in the worst circumstances, so it helped to have people my age who have gone through similar things”.
Thanks to the overwhelming generosity from the public, the Trust has been able to establish 28 specialist cancer units across the UK, helping young people with cancer feel less alone. Furthermore, the Trust has been able to fund the employment of 48 nurses and youth support co-ordinators in order to provide the best care possible to young people and their families.
Another fantastic event that the Teenage Cancer Trust organise for their patients, is an annual Teenage Cancer gig at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Teenagers and music go together like cheese and crackers, and the Teenage Cancer Trust have recognised this. These annual gigs give young people living with cancer a ‘night off’. They can forget about their illness for one night, and have a fun night out with their friends, singing along to their favourite songs.
Notable stars who have performed at these gigs include Ed Sheeran, Olly Murs, Russell Howard, Kasabian, Bring Me The Horizon Paul McCartney, and more!
We really cannot praise the efforts of the Teenage Cancer Trust enough. Their ability to change the lives of young people living with cancer, and providing continuous support and friendship, changes the lives of children across the UK.
The proceeds from the National Children of Wales Awards will ensure that the Teenage Cancer Trust can extend their specialist care and support to countless more families. There are still thousands of children living with cancer, without access to the care and encouragement of specialist nurses. No one should face cancer alone, and the proceeds from the Awards would help to ensure that fewer children will.