Supporting those in their teens and early 20's who are fighting cancer.
There are 2,555 new cases of cancer diagnosed in teenagers and young adults in the UK each year.
We support those aged 13-24 who are living with and beyond cancer. Through our free activities and residential stays, we bring them together with others their age who understand what they’re going through. They can make new friends, learn new skills and embrace new challenges.
At a time when it can feel like there’s so much they can’t do, we’re here to show them what they can do, without the ‘c’ word holding them back.
However long it’s been since their diagnosis, we’re here every step of the way. Whenever they need us and for however long they need us for.
Having cancer is tough, but it shouldn’t be lonely.
Founders of Teens Unite, Debbie Pezzani and Karen Millen OBE, share a passion for supporting young people diagnosed with cancer after volunteering their time in hospital wards and spending hours with teenage cancer patients. They held their hands through treatment, recovery and hospital appointments and shared the highs and lows with those closest to them.
Debbie and Karen witnessed cancer steal the confidence, self-esteem, friendships and hope of these young people and saw the illness deprive them of the best years of their life.
Whilst volunteering, they met a young man named Chris. He was the sole carer for his two younger brothers and was incredibly unwell at the time. He was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma at the age of 19 and had undergone a stem cell transplant. Debbie supported Chris through his treatment and appointments; helping him with transport, taking care of his family and being a hand to hold.
The news that followed made Chris’s battle even harder to cope with; he received news that his younger brother, Carl, had been diagnosed with the same type of cancer and he sadly passed away in Debbie’s arms a year after his diagnosis. On this day, Chris said to Debbie: “Not only have I lost my brother, but I have lost my cancer friend.” Carl was the only person in Chris’s life who really understood what he was going through.
They realised that outside of medical staff treating the illness, there was little support available to these young people who were absent from school, college or university to undergo treatment and they were rapidly becoming isolated and alone with little hope or aspiration for the future.
Seven teenagers hear the words ‘you have cancer’ every day in the UK. As a result of cancer treatment in young people, 95% experience a negative impact on their physical ability, 90% experience anxiety, 83% experience loneliness and 70% experience depression.
In 2007, Teens Unite was born after Debbie and Karen vowed to unite these young people and help them to rebuild their lives creating an inclusive family with a fun loving and determined approach, where the young people can meet others who genuinely understand. Teens Unite is a place empowering young people to embrace every moment and live life to the full - tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of us.