My name is Anika, I’m 22 years old, a Youth Ambassador for CanTeen and a loving and devoted mother to my son who’s 2 years old. Cancer first impacted my life when I only was 5 years old in 2000, when my father was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. Me and my siblings didn’t know about CanTeen until 16 years later.
Cancer impacted my life again after I fell over at work where I was rushed to hospital to check my growing bump and baby in early 2016. I was diagnosed with the Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, the same blood cancer my father previously had at all those years ago, at 4 months gestation. My son was born a short 9 weeks later at 29 weeks gestation. He spent 2 months in Neonatal Intensive care and Special Care unit. 2 weeks after my son came home I started treatment. First, I had 1 round of consolidation chemo then 2 rounds of conditioning chemo and Radiation Therapy before having a Bone Marrow Transplant. This is when I joined CanTeen. I am now 1 and a half years post-transplant and in remission.
CanTeen have made a massive impact on mine and my family’s life, they’ve helped me grow and deal with my cancer journey in a safe and healthy environment, I joined in hopes of meeting other young women who went through cancer during their pregnancy, and to help advocate for them and their families. I also wanted to join CanTeen to meet likewise young people who have incredible stories to tell and make some lifelong friends which I have done using CanTeen’s services and attending their programs. I like to think that my CanTeen family will always be my safe haven for when I’m having trouble and hopefully when my son becomes old enough he can join and make an incredible impact on this world.