With effect from 1st February, after 13 years at the helm, Debbie Pezzani, Co-Founder and CEO will be stepping aside to concentrate on supporting the charity’s beneficiaries as Co-Founder and Teens Ambassador.
Debbie founded the charity in 2007 with long-time friend Karen Millen OBE. They began the charity from a spare room at home, with the ambition to help 10 young people in that first year - making it their mission to ensure that young people diagnosed with cancer didn’t have to face their fight alone.
Now, in 2020, Debbie’s commitment and passion for making a difference has led the charity to support more than 1,250 teenagers and young adults since it was founded.
At the end of January the charity marked it's 13th birthday and Debbie’s announcement coincides with this significant milestone and embraces a new phase of development for Teens Unite. In 2019 alone; the team raised more than £1 million and as a result provided 806 opportunities for young cancer people fighting cancer.
Debbie will retain an integral role at Teens Unite as Co-Founder and will continue to work closely with the team on strengthening the support provided for 13-24 years olds fighting cancer and building relationships with the charity’s supporters.
Roxanne, who has been with the charity in the capacity of COO for the past three years, said; “I am delighted that I have been appointed as the new CEO for Teens Unite. It goes without saying that I have big shoes to fill, but I am ready to embrace the challenge and work towards achieving the charity’s long-term ambition of increasing our service to more young people in the South East and building the first, UK mainland retreat for young people fighting cancer.
Our priorities at Teens Unite will always remain the same and the young people we support are at the heart of everything we do.”
Co-founder and Ambassador Karen Millen said: “I and the whole team would like to take this opportunity to thank Debbie for her commitment and dedication, which has established Teens Unite as the respected charity it is today. We are excited about the future and as a charity supporting many more young people to see there is life beyond cancer.”
Debbie said: “I’m delighted that Roxanne will be taking over the role of CEO and wish her every success and huge congratulations. The future looks very exciting for Teens Unite. Even though I am stepping aside from my leadership role I will remain an integral part of the team. The change will enable me to focus on where my passion has always been, meaning I can continue to directly support the young people and help to drive forward and champion our fundraising.”
Alessandra Bellini, Teens Unite Chair of Trustees and Chief Customer Officer at Tesco, said “I’d like to extend my sincere thanks and those of the trustees to Debbie for her contribution to the growth and success of Teens Unite. I have been working closely with Roxanne since I joined the board last year and her transition to CEO signifies the next step in our growth ambitions for the charity. Young people living with the harsh realities of cancer should not be held back and we are determined to help support them to live their best life. I look forward to working with Roxanne and the team to help Teens Unite increase the level of support available to young people across the UK.”
Detailed below are our events for Teens, Volunteers, Fundraising and Challenges.
Volunteering with Teens Unite has changed my personality and outlook on life. When I hear all the amazing things the teens say about Teens Unite, I can tell they mean every word.
Teens Unite isn't just a charity to me, it was the beginning of restarting my life.
When Elliot started receiving the support of Teens Unite, I could see a change in him straightaway. His outlook on life was becoming positive again and I gained strength from seeing my little boy accepting what had happened and starting to move forward.
I needed help and that's where Teens Unite came in. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and the reason I met Teens Unite was to save my life.
With Teens Unite, I finally realised that I could climb out of this massive hole that I had been digging because I wasn't alone anymore.
If it wasn't for Teens Unite, I wouldn't be where I am now. They have been really supportive and given me the strength to push myself and not give up.