Day 8: A parent’s story

Home Day 8: A parent’s story
18 Dec, 2021
  • Teens

Day 8: A parent’s story

We know through our work that cancer doesn’t just affect the person diagnosed, but also those closest to them. The families of young people facing cancer should not be forgotten. One in four families suffer a family breakdown when a child is diagnosed with cancer – they face tough decisions work, travel, sibling care and face financial hardship. Teens Unite offers support to parents and siblings too. We would like to introduce you to Ian whose son, Matty, was diagnosed with Leukaemia at 19. Ian says:

“It goes without saying that we, Matty’s family, loved and cared for him. But try as we would, we just didn’t understand what he was going through, so for much of the time he felt isolated and alone. That was until he met Teens Unite, a small charity local to us, who brought kids his age together. Teens Unite understand the devastating effect of cancer and its treatment, they know the impacts on the young people's mental health, how they miss out on education and early employment opportunities, and how they lose contact with their friends.

When Matty was with Teens Unite, the kids didn’t have to talk about their cancer, they just knew what it was like for each other, and they were able to offer the kind of support that Matty needed, a common understanding of what cancer and its treatment did to a young person, and opportunities to just be a ‘normal’ young person for a while, doing normal things.

Teens Unite have been, and still are, great friends to my family, even though now we have sadly lost Matty. They want to build a big house where these young people can come together whenever they need, where they can be with other young people for friendship and support, and I’ve been working with my friends to raise money to help and to be able to name a room in the House after Matt. We have cycled from Lands’ End to John O’Groats, we have held golf days and a Spring Ball, and we have lots more planned.

I set a petition up as Broxbourne Council have refused Teens Unite planning permission which would have brought the House of Teens Unite to Goffs Oak. I need your help to show them how much this House is needed by young people who are currently suffering alone, like Matt did before he met them.”

If you would like to help Ian help Teens Unite realise their long-held ambition to build The House of Teens Unite, please give your signature to his petition. And, if you’d like to help Ian crate a legacy for Matt, please donate in his memory to our Christmas Stars Appeal.

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