About Us

Teens Unite supports young people fighting cancer to live their best life, while others search for a cure

There are 2,405 new cases of cancer in teenagers and young adults in the UK each year.  48% of those diagnosed live in the South East of England and need the ongoing support of Teens Unite.

The Charity inspires young people to recognise their potential now and, in the future, and empowers them to live every moment to the full.  When you're faced with cancer, plenty of people will tell you what you can't do, but Teens Unite shows these young people what they can do; without letting the "C" word hold them back or define who they are.

 

The activities organised by Teens Unite enable the young people to meet others who genuinely understand, whilst learning new skills and challenging themselves in a safe space, where they can see there is life beyond cancer.  

 

Our Story

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. 

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