It's National Careers Week - and with 74% of young people being worried about the impact cancer will have on their future employment, we wanted to take this opportunity to share some inspiring and uplifting stories from young people we support who have found their path following their diagnosis.
Meet Azreen - she was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma aged 19. Being diagnosed with cancer changed her 'set path' of studying Childhood Education at University, but she is now proud to run her own Henna Art business, Azreen's Collection.
"Growing up at school, I had no interest in art and knew absolutely nothing about business. I remember myself thinking those that picked business for GCSE had to be out of their minds! Who knew that years on, my two most dreaded subjects would end up being the backbone of my career.
Had I never gotten diagnosed, gone over my phone’s data allowance and gotten incredibly bored out of my mind, I would have never picked up that pen to start doodling, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
I’m a big believer in the idea that we always end up where we’re mean to in life, and that’s exactly what happened with me. Being diagnosed was devastating but my mind was set only on getting treatment, my school examiner spoke to my university to defer my start.
Childhood education and Roehampton was my set path. All I cared for and wanted to do was childcare, work with special needs children and bring smiles to their faces. I couldn’t have imagined at the time, how the tracks were about to change.
Once treatment was over is when the fears and anxieties crept in. Henna art was a hobby at this point and the thought to turn it into income had never crossed my mind. I was upset that I missed my chance to go to University due to treatment being delayed, I felt I couldn’t deal with the stress of studying both physically and emotionally and I just didn’t feel the same drive to work hard that I had before cancer.
The invisible effects of cancer, the mental strain, and the depressive moods all contributed to a sense of failure and misdirection.
Various means of motivation pushed me to make this a business - from friends I’ve made through Teens Unite, to medical professionals like Occupational Therapists and Psychologists and more.
There were so many people that appreciated my art and encouraged me to pursue it until I finally decided to take the leap. It was perfect; not only was it something I loved, but something I could schedule to work around my health and my needs.
I now run a henna art business, I not only get to decorate people’s skin with beautiful patterns, but I also create paintings and artwork inspired by the same traditional patterns with a modern twist.
Cancer lead me to Teens Unite, and they lead me to so many amazing opportunities. So many chances to do henna and meet new people to share my skill with, and the amazing opportunity to have an art piece hung up in a gallery! I would have never thought I'd achieve that milestone so soon in my life.
I always believe that what's meant to be will be. When you're a little lost and confused about where you're headed, try and look for what you LOVE doing and do more of it. You never know what it can blossom into.
You can follow my business venture at @azreenscollection on Instagram."
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.