CanTeen Ireland is a nationwide support group for young people between the ages of 12 and 25 years who have or have had cancer.
We were founded by a group of dedicated health professionals in May 1990 and have since grown from strength to strength.
Our aims are to support, empower and develop young people who have, or have had cancer. CanTeen Ireland provides an opportunity for young people who have been affected with cancer to meet up in a relaxed and informal setting. Membership is free and we only ask our members to make a small contribution towards the cost of weekends away.
Currently we are proud to say that we have 260+ members. It is a testament to the success of the group that many of our members are now volunteer leaders, including our current Chairperson. We are the only support group in Ireland specifically for young people with cancer.
So what do we do?
We have 7 to 8 weekends away per year to various activity centres throughout Ireland and the UK. These activities challenge the young person’s perceptions of their own abilities and their achievements and helps build their self-esteem. Every two years we go to Alton Towers in England.
We also have 5 to 6 day support meetings annually. During these meetings we talk about cancer, and how it has affected them. By providing these opportunities, a young person with cancer realises that there are not alone, and that the feelings they have had are in fact very common.
They meet up with other teenagers who have “come through the other side of their treatment” and now lead normal lives. This is very important to a young person with cancer: to be treated as a normal person.
We also produce a biannual newsletter which is written by our members, and sent out to everyone on our mailing list. CanTeen Ireland is “run by young people for young people”. The group is run by a steering committee, on which there are a majority of young people.
We have produced a DVD “CanTeen | The Big C Ain’t Gonna Stop Me!” and an information booklet “What’s Going On? A Guide for Teenagers with Cancer”. In 2015 we celebrated our 25th birthday and produced a new edition of our book “Bad Times, Good Times - Teenage Cancer, Our Story”, where 27 of our members wrote about their experience of cancer and how CanTeen has helped them cope.
Hear what some of our members have to say:
"CanTeen means a lot to me. It’s great. You get to meet lots of new friends and everyone is always happy. The weekends away are class. When you come away on your first weekend, you’re a bit shy, but give it a couple of months and you’ll be like everyone else."
"CanTeen has been a real life support when you need someone to talk to. Here you make real friends, people who treat you as you are, because they have something similar.”
"CanTeen has given me more confidence in things I do, and has given me all of my best friends. I don’t think I would have recovered as quickly without CanTeen."
"CanTeen is like one big happy family where I have loads of brothers and sisters, who have gotten me through some rough times in my life. I am proud to be part of CanTeen’s future!"
"CanTeen is like a rainbow, it has many different colours or moods, happy or sad, good times and bad. But there is always someone to talk to and help."