The last year has thrown up challenges that none of us could have anticipated. Our priority throughout the pandemic has been, and will remain, creating opportunities for 13-24 year olds living with and beyond cancer to connect, learn new skills and be part of an incredible community who genuinely understand each other.
We have transformed our programme of four face to face activities each month to four digital activities each week. Since the start of Lockdown, supported by the incredible generosity of the GlobalGiving Community, more than 1200 young people have taken part in almost 300 online activities the Charity has hosted.
Kerrie, who was diagnosed five years ago with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, joined Teens Unite during the lockdown for their digital sessions, and says “The online sessions have benefited me hugely with both my anxiety and confidence. And since I’m mostly shielding due to COVID-19, the digital activities have given me something to focus on and stopped me feeling secluded from the outside world. As I’ve not had much contact during the whole pandemic, they’ve helped me to stay connected and still have fun despite being indoors. There’s always time to talk at the end of the activity and I enjoy speaking with my friends and getting to know each other a bit more. “
As Kerrie lives in Suffolk and suffers with her mobility due to the complications of treatment, it is unlikely that she would have been able to join the Charity’s pre covid-19 face-to-face sessions, but the digital deliveries have ensured that she is part of this incredible community.
As we write, we are preparing for a favourite event in our calendar, our bi-annual motivational conference Discover You, transformed this year for online delivery.
Young people fighting cancer are stripped of their confidence and self-esteem, they are unable to see a future beyond their illness. And, that’s what Discover You is all about - motivating the young people to reinvent themselves, to grow, learn new skills, meet interesting and inspiring people, and to leave the conference feeling like the world outside is theirs to command. We will not let the pandemic stop this positive and powerful opportunity which brings together more than 100 young people aged 13-24, from across the UK, who are all fighting cancer.
Discover You 2021 will be an online conference with positive, powerful insights and amazing take-aways that will ensure our beneficiaries • give themselves time and space to think • create new vision, set realistic goals, and increase motivation • have access to influential keynote speakers, collaborators and mentors who will provide guidance and perspective and act as role models • learn practical, powerful skills which will rebuild their confidence to return to education or early employment • explore some lifestyle, and self-care choices needed to move on positively • learn how to integrate peace and calm into their daily lives And importantly, • meet other young people who genuinely know what it is like to face cancer in your teenage and early adult years.
Inspirational, influential speakers who have fought against their own struggles, been de-railed or had to change direction will deliver engaging interactive sessions. And breakout sessions, hosted by professional service providers, will deliver workshops from our Positive Steps Program all with objectives designed to address the long-term impacts of cancer that affect these young people beyond the illness and the treatment.
The young people will be energised, encouraged, and empowered in a day with a full event programme.
We are excited to update you next time, and for now, thank you for your incredible support that ensures we can continue supporting more of the seven young people who receive a cancer diagnosis every day in the UK.