Young leaders show fight

YOUNG leaders who have been impacted by cancer hosted a Spring Jams on the Lawn event on Parliament Lawns to raise funds and awareness for CanTeen, as well as utilise some of the skills they learnt during a 12-month leadership program.

Participants from CanTeen’s Foundations of Leadership program held a pop-up event with live music and an information stall to create more understanding within the community about what CanTeen is and who it supports.

CanTeen was established more than 30 years ago and helps young people cope with the immense impact of cancer, whether it be their own diagnosis, the diagnosis of a close family member or the death of a loved one.

“We support young people affected by cancer aged 12 to 25 through a number of ways,” CanTeen Tasmania state manager Shae Chester said.

“This can be either through individual support by providing counselling, peer-to-peer connections or taking them away on programs to teach them about coping with grief and loss, as well as our leadership program.”

Ms Chester said the Spring Jams on the Lawn event was the culmination of the 12-month Foundations of Leadership program, which was supported by a $14,200 grant from the Coca-Cola Australia Foundation.

“The participants came to meetings, attended our Youth Leadership Festival in Sydney and learnt a few of our foundations about celebrating diversity, collaboration and being authentic leaders in CanTeen,” she said.

“In Tasmania we have about 600 young people every year who are affected by cancer, we probably reach about 90 of those, so there’s still about 510 people who either don’t know about CanTeen or don’t know they can get support.

“For us, we’re still trying to reach a lot more Tasmanians, so they’re not going through that cancer journey alone.”

Seventeen-year-old Alex Geeves was one of the members of the Foundations of Leadership program who helped organise the event and said it was a way for the entire community to come together and show their support for CanTeen.

“The leadership group is one of the ways CanTeen supports its members by providing them with ways to learn and grow and move on from their experience,” she said.

“The program is amazing for teaching you skills you can use not only in leadership, but for the rest of your life – it helps you become a better person.”

Following her young brother Nicholas being diagnosed with leukemia seven years ago, Alex joined CanTeen to learn about leadership and to help other people.

“His treatment was not the worst – he survived, so I had quite an easy experience – but I’ve met so many people whose experiences were so much harder than mine,” Alex said.

“Going through my experience with Nicholas, I really gained a perspective on what life should be about and appreciating every moment of life and getting everything out of it that you can.”

Alex said the response from people who attended the event was really positive, with everyone having a great time.

Caption: From left, Tim Christie-Green (leader), Alice Bellchambers (leader), CanTeen Tasmania state manager Shae Chester, Attorney General Elise Archer, George Richardson (leader), Isaac Hudson (leader) and CanTeen programs officer Sarah Davidson.

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