You Can’s mission is to ensure that no young person faces their journey alone.
All too often, we hear the stories of young people being treated alongside the elderly, far away from support of their families and friends. Beyond this, there is the added burden of study, work, friends and life. You see, cancer isn’t just the chemotherapy, the radiation, the surgery, the sickness. For many, the cancer journey beyond treatment can be just as overwhelming.
Every year, nearly 1000 young people aged 15-25 years old in Australia are diagnosed with cancer. From all corners of Australia, these young people put their lives, their schooling, their university studies, their jobs, their dreams, on hold and receive treatment from one of the main Adolescent & Young Adult (AYA) Youth Cancer Service centres – located in major cities build youth cancer centres around Australia to improve services tailored for this age group, and provide a place where they can find others their age and the support they need.
Once treatment stops however, the cancer journey often is just starting. You Can saw the need for a place where young people affected by cancer could reach out for peer support, or get peer support, no matter where they were or what stage they were at in their journey. A place where they could go when they can’t talk to their parents, when their mates don’t get it, a place where they won’t have to censor their journey. A virtual You Can Centre where all the discussions were by young people, for young people.
The concept for such a community platform was found by partnering with IHadCancer.com – a three time Webby awarded cancer community website that was built from the ground up, by one inspirational woman, who didn’t want to face her cancer journey alone.
You Can and IHadCancer have collaborated to create a tailored platform for young people in Australia and so You Can Connect was launched. An online community to connect, share and thrive for 15 – 35 year old Australians with cancer. Here are just some of the personal stories that have been shared by You Can Connect members on www.youcan.org.au
Gratitude and Guilt Fill My Heart When I Think About Cancer
December 12th, 2017 | Relationships
Jess | Patient: Ocular Melanoma
“Cancer is an absolute a jerk! As a young cancer fighter, I am one of a small minority that have had to battle it out with this bastard during a time when life is already changing so much. One thing that makes this tough time a lot more bearable is having a community of other young patients who get it. They get that this time in our life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, they get that treatment can be tough and they get the fear of facing the unknown path we have ahead of us!”
My Cancer Diagnosis Redefined my Life
Adry | Survivor: Testicular Cancer
“My diagnosis had a profound effect on my mental health: It triggered regular bouts of anxiety. My anxiety felt like I was living under a microscope, constantly worried about how the people in my world perceived me….”
I Didn’t Understand Fertility Preservation, So I Avoided The Conversation
February 13th, 2018 | Sex & Fertility
Bree | Survivor: Bone Cancer
“The thought of having children whilst you’re still a child is a scary one to contemplate. I was in year 8 when I was diagnosed with an osteosarcoma. Not only did I have to deal with the idea of having cancer but I was also faced with a big decision about my fertility. I was sitting in the oncologist’s office with my oncologist and my nurse coordinator and I distinctly remember being asked “Breanne, do you want kids one day?” I didn’t know what to say- I was only a kid.”
When I Changed My Perspective about Cancer, I Changed My Life
February 23rd, 2018 | Recently Diagnosed
Nikhil | Survivor: Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
“Nikhil, the good news is, you’re 17 and you have leukaemia, but the bad news is, you’re 17 and you have leukaemia..” Thoughts started racing through my mind. Cancer? At my age? How was this fair? The question I asked next was the one I nearly couldn’t bring myself to say: “What are my chances?”
In reply, the doctor pulled off his glasses and sighed. “There’s a 10 – 20% chance you’d live beyond 5 years…”
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