A day out with the BIG cats - a thank you to funders

Home A day out with the BIG cats - a thank you to funders
9 Oct 2023

A day out with the BIG cats - a thank you to funders

When a young person is diagnosed with cancer, not only are they dealing with the diagnosis, the treatment, and the long-term, often forgotten, impacts on their mental health, the whole family feels the impact - roles and responsibilities change, finances are impacted  and worries about the future all take their toll.  For siblings, there is a negative impact on their feelings of security, they face uncertainty, anxiety, fear of abandonment, as well as jealousy and anger, guilt, and resentment– their life is destabilised.  At Teens Unite, we recognise this and host regular events for the teens, their siblings, and their families.

So, with some very generous funding, we were delighted to bring together 15  families for an unforgettable time at The Big Cat Sanctuary in the peace and tranquillity of the Kent Countryside.  The young people and their families were able to spend valuable time together, make happy memories and meet other families in a similar situation, whose lives had also been impacted by cancer. Meeting others who have experienced similar situations in their life can really help at a difficult time, both for those going through treatment and those who have been through it.

The day began with an introduction to the work of the Sanctuary, learning all about the conservation of the cats.  The Sanctuary is home to a dozen different species, and the young people and their families were enthralled by the work they do there.

Before heading off to see the amazing animals up close and personal, we took some time to get to know each other with some ice breaker games.  These are important to build rapport and allow everyone to interact with each other more comfortably.

Once we were all relaxed, we headed off on our private tour, even getting an exclusive view of the veterinary room. The tour guides were brimming with facts about the animals and ensured that everyone had the perfect view of the beautiful animals in the most beautiful of settings. 

In true Teens Unite style, we ended the day with lunch, where everyone had the chance to get to know one another a bit better. Everyone then had the chance to wander around the zoo with their families, and take a final look at their favourite big cats.

The event was extraordinary, delightful and unique it was well organised and the people were welcoming and kind. I felt isolated before joining Teens Unite, not meeting people with similar situation.  Now I know there’s hope and am at ease.”  Michael, 17, diagnosed with a brain tumour.

To our incredible funders, thank you for supporting young people and their families to overcome the challenges of cancer.

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