Supporting young people fighting cancer to live their best life, while others search for a cure.
Our vision is to ensure that more of the 2,555 teenagers and young adults who every year, in the UK, receive a cancer diagnosis, are welcomed in to the Teens Unite family, where the long term effects of cancer are understood.
To achieve this, we are working towards building the first retreat in England for young people fighting cancer, known as The House of Teens Unite.
The retreat will enable us to provide 3,000 opportunities for young people to benefit from our support every year by 2030.
It will be a safe and tranquil space, where young people can come together and receive the ongoing social, emotional and physical support that isn't available outside of Teens Unite. The retreat will provide overnight accommodation and dedicated areas to hold more of our activities that have proven so beneficial in helping young people to live positively with their diagnosis and take the next steps towards a future beyond cancer.
Founders of Teens Unite, Debbie Pezzani and Karen Millen OBE, share a passion for supporting young people diagnosed with cancer after volunteering their time in hospital wards and spending hours with teenage cancer patients. They held their hands through treatment, recovery and hospital appointments and shared the highs and lows with those closest to them.
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.
They realised that outside of medical staff treating the illness, there was little support available to these young people and they were rapidly becoming isolated and alone with little hope or aspiration for the future.
In 2007, Teens Unite was born after Debbie and Karen vowed to unite these young people and help them to rebuild their lives creating an inclusive family with a fun loving and determined approach, where the young people can meet others who genuinely understand. Teens Unite is a place empowering young people to embrace every moment and live life to the full, whatever the future holds - tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of us.
Hertfordshire County Council has officially announced that a new footbridge in the Borough of Broxbourne, part of the New River Bridge Improvement Scheme, will be named The Debbie Pezzani Footbridge in honour of Teens Unite Co-Founder, Debbie Pezzani
Our face-to-face events for the young people we support are back! With COVID restrictions lifted, we are so excited to be able to bring teens back together in person once again, whilst continuing to offer our digital activities.