CanTeen Ireland – a group for teenage survivors
M. McGrath & Evelyn Griffith
From PowerPoint presentation at the ICCCPO-conference in Vancouver, September 2005
suggests that 1 in 3 people will get cancer. However, cancer in young people is
still rare. Approx 200 children and teenagers are diagnosed with cancer each
year in Ireland.
Ireland teenagers with cancer are cared for in either Children’s Hospitals or
Adult Hospitals – there are no Adolescent Units!!! That is why CanTeen was
Mission Statement of CanTeen:
Nation-wide support group for young people and run by young people who
have or have had cancer.
CanTeen Ireland offers support based on shared experience in a relaxed
and fun atmosphere.
To offer support to young people with cancer.
To encourage and motivate young people to live with their experience of cancer.
To encourage the personal development of group members.
Supporting young people with cancer:
Peer support; TeenLink, Buddy System
- Newsletters, Website, CanTeen-Video
- Providing them with the opportunity
to talk about their experience of cancer with others who have similar
- Weekends away and Day Meetings
- Establishing links with
organisations abroad, exchange visits
Developing young people with cancer
- Challenging their perceptions of
their abilities through activity weekends away
- Identifying and encouraging
talents, and personal skills
- Providing opportunities to acquire
- Encouraging young people to lead as
normal a life as possible
Empowering young people with cancer:
- Providing accurate, age appropriate
information about cancer
- Steering Committee has majority of
- Access to training
- Providing opportunities to take on
responsible roles, developing their skills
do not receive annual core funding. Much of it is from fundraising and once -off
grants for specific projects. Annual sum from The Irish Cancer Society, and
other Voluntary Organisations. Also grants from the Lottery, E.H.B, and
Irish Youth Foundation. The women’s mini marathon is our biggest
Some of Our Members Say:
- You can RELATE to others who have
been through the same thing
- You are NOT ALONE and other
teenagers get cancer too.
- FUN, and you make lots of NEW
- CanTeen provides GREAT BACK UP.
- Helps your SELF CONFIDENCE- people
come out of themselves.
- You can TALK
THROUGH your problems
- Helps ACCEPT WHO YOU ARE during
your illness and afterwards.
- CanTeen is a SUPPORT NETWORK and
helps BUILD your SELF ESTEEM.
- Change of scenery from the routine
of hospital, and home. Time to get away from it all….
CanTeen Ireland Volunteers:
Currently 26 volunteers (various professions, including healthcare).
The Supportive Role.
- Developing caring, responsible
relationships with young people.
- Listening, and respecting their
points of view.
- Encouraging and motivating.
- Being there for young people.
The Organisational Role.
- Assisting the Co-ordinator with the
smooth running of CanTeen activities.
- Organising the members for group
work, and for duties e.g. wash up duty!!
- Preferably Organised Chaos!!
The Supervisory Role.
- Ensuring the safety and well being
of young people during all CanTeen activities.
- Dealing with instances of bullying,
or disruptive behaviour.
- Actively promoting inclusive
behaviour amongst young people.
The Youth Work Role
- Working in partnership with young
people (Steering Committee).
- Encouraging young people to express
their thoughts and ideas.
Challenging young people’s perceptions of their -abilities.
- Providing informal opportunities to
learn new skills. Learn by Doing!
What our volunteers say about CanTeen:
Fun, just to be with young people.
Meeting people with wonderful attitudes to life!
It’s fun to work as part of a group.
Meeting other leaders and making new friends!
Camaraderie between leaders.
Knowing that what I’m doing really makes a difference!
more information contact: CanTeen Ireland, Carmichael Centre
North Brusnwick Street, Dublin 7, Tel. +01 8722012.