The Christof Ball

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5 Dec 2023

The Christof Ball

On Saturday 25th November 2023, our co-founder, Karen Millen OBE welcomed 250 guests to The Christof Ball; a fundraising event to raise vital funds and awareness for Teens Unite. 

Taking place at one of London’s most iconic venues, Grosvenor House London, the event was hosted by TV presenter and former I’m a Celebrity contestant Scarlette Douglas, alongside teenage cancer survivor and Teens Unite Ambassador, Rian Harvey, who was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, aged 14. 

Guests were entertained throughout the evening, with dance performances, singer Zena Donnelly, two-time MOBO award winner Kele Le Roc, and Gok Wan who took to the DJ decks to party the night away. 

The Christof Ball was named after the first young person supported by the Charity; Chris. The event told the story of how Teens Unite began, and how Debbie and Karen met Chris during their time spent volunteering on teenage hospital wards. 

Chris was extremely unwell at the time, having just had a stem cell transplant. A difficult home life led to him being the sole carer for his two younger brothers. He already had the weight of the world on his shoulders, and more responsibility than most his age, and now he was also faced with a fight for survival. 

Understandably, at times, life became too much for Chris, and his way of coping was through an alter ego known as ‘Christof’. Christof was like a superhero who could take on the world and handle everything life thew at him. Christof could muster the strength to deal with the treatment pumping through his body, cope with the bad news he was given time and time again, and step into survival mode when the odds were against him. 

But nothing could prepare either Chris or Christof for what came next. His younger brother, Carl was diagnosed with the same cancer Chris was fighting to survive. Sadly, Carl didn’t survive his cancer, and he died in Debbie’s arms aged 20. 

When Carl passed away, Chris told Karen and Debbie “not only have I lost my brother, but I’ve also lost the one person in the world who really understood what I was going through. The one person who knows what living this life feels like.” Chris felt more alone than ever. 

Karen and Debbie realised what a scary, isolating, and lonely experience cancer is for young people, and the desperate need for non-medical support for their emotional, social, and mental health, even long after treatment comes to an end. 

Teens Unite was founded to bring young people living with cancer and the lasting effects of their diagnosis and treatment, together. Our regular in-person and digital activities, alongside residential stays, enable the young people registered with us to benefit from spending time with others who truly understand what they are going through. They make friends, learn new skills, enjoy new experiences, and start to rebuild the life that cancer took away from them. 

The kindness and generosity of guests at The Christof Ball, meant the event raised over £50,000 profit for Teens Unite Fighting Cancer to support more young people at a time when they need it most. 

We would like to thank everyone who supported the event - Karen, our wonderful hosts, the amazing volunteers who kindly gave their time to help on the evening, everyone who contributed to our silent auction, and all of our guests. 

You can view the photos from the evening here.

If you would like to attend one of our events in the future, you can take a look at our upcoming calendar here


 

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