Happy International Women's Day!

08 March 2019

Happy International Women's Day!

Today marks International Women’s Day and we are celebrating the achievements of the ladies behind our charity; renowned designer Karen Millen OBE and Debbie Pezzani.

Teens Unite was founded in 2007 by Karen and Debbie, having spent time volunteering together on hospital wards and organising fundraising events for charities.

During their time volunteering, they spent many hours with teenage cancer patients; holding their hands through treatment, recovery and hospital appointments and sharing their highs and lows. Debbie and Karen witnessed cancer steal the confidence, self-esteem, friendships and hope of these young people and saw the illness deprive them of the best years of their life.

Whilst volunteering, they met a young man named Chris. He was the sole carer for his two younger brothers and was incredibly unwell at the time. He was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma at the age of 19 and had undergone a stem cell transplant. Debbie supported Chris through his treatment and appointments; helping him with transport, taking care of his family and being a hand to hold.

The news that followed made Chris’s battle even harder to cope with; he received news that his younger brother, Carl, had been diagnosed with the same type of cancer and he sadly passed away in Debbie’s arms a year after his diagnosis. On this day, Chris said to Debbie: “Not only have I lost my brother, but I have lost my cancer friend.” Carl was the only person in Chris’s life who really understood what he was going through.  

Debbie and Karen realised that outside of medical staff treating the illness, there was little support to help these young people deal with the emotional, social and physical impact of a cancer diagnosis.

Seven teenagers hear the words ‘you have cancer’ every day in the UK. As a result of cancer treatment in young people, 95% experience a negative impact on their physical ability, 90% experience anxiety, 83% experience loneliness and 70% experience depression.

Teens Unite was founded by Debbie and Karen to bring young people who have been diagnosed with cancer together, so they don’t have to face the journey alone. Through workshops and activities, the charity unites those aged 13-24, so they can make new friends, rebuild their confidence and self-esteem, learn new skills and live a life outside of illness.

Karen and Debbie are at the heart and soul of the charity; taking on overseas challenges, organising fundraising events and pushing forward with the charity’s plans to open the first, UK mainland retreat for young people who have been diagnosed with cancer.

To help us support more young people like Chris and fulfil our plans to open The House of Teens Unite, please donate by clicking here.

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