YOUTH CANCER SURVIVORS SEE THEIR DREAM BECOME REALITY
Date: 24 August 2023
Sony Foundation unveiled the new You Can Centre at Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney to the You Can community of former patients and families who advocated for the centre over the past decade.
The network of You Can champions who attended were advocates over the years to help raise funds and awareness for You Can Centres to be built in hospitals in Sydney and around the country.
Guests were able to tour the You Can Centre, a dedicated space for youth cancer patients generously funded by Sony Foundation, which is used as a sanctuary away from the clinical wards by youth cancer patients and their families.
Some of the young people now in remission from cancer remember fondly taking part in BBL Cricket Sydney Sixers ‘You Can’ Charity matches, attending Wharf4Ward events or being interviewed by media about their personal cancer journey.
One of the attendees, Linda, whose daughter Mikayla passed away from cancer, was proud to be standing in the space which her daughter once toured in a hard hat alongside the global CEO of Sony, Kazuo Hirai on a visit to Australia in 2018. Mikayla was passionate about improving services for young people with cancer and featured at many Sony Foundation events and in publicity.
Jason, now 25 and cancer-free, spoke about his journey from 10 years ago and how an unlikely friendship with fellow patient, Cass was instrumental in his survival through the toughest times of treatment. Jason and Cass were the first ‘You Can’ advocates and were passionate about seeing the You Can Centre dream become reality so that no young person would face cancer alone.
"The You Can Centre is a symbol of hope. It's a place where young cancer patients and survivors can come to heal, connect with others who understand, and build a brighter future."
Youth Cancer Nurses, Cath O’Dwyer and Fiona Maguire said the You Can Centre was now an integral part of supporting 15 – 25 year old patients at the hospital.
“Prior to the space being available to our young people there was nowhere for them and their family and carers to go to relax in an age appropriate environment and take some time out of the hospital environment.
“The You Can Centre has lots of things to do to offer some distraction. There’s music, games, PlayStations, movies - a space that has the comforts of home. The space has made their experience more bearable, ” said Cath and Fiona.
A special plaque was unveiled at the event, a tribute to the many young people who advocated for the You Can Centre. Their wisdom and courage inspired a generational change in health care for young people with cancer.
The You Can Centre now stands as a symbol of hope and a haven for those battling youth cancer. It is a testament to the power of collective efforts and serves as an inspiration to all who are fighting for a brighter, cancer-free future.