I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in September 2008 and joined Canteen in 2010 when I needed support after I underwent my first Stem Cell Transplant.
Since joining I have been fortunate enough to attend numerous programs, developed my skills as both a leader and mentor through the training opportunities afforded to me and been a blogger and poster on the Canteen Online Support Service. I have also been fortunate to serve in almost every leadership position available to me throughout my time in the organisation. I worked in my local division of Victoria as a Program Leader, Peer Mentor, Deputy Chair and Chair and on a national level as a member of the Member Advisory Council prior to joining the Canteen Board of Directors.
Over the course of my ongoing cancer journey and through my experiences with Canteen I have developed a keen interest in helping the organisation improve the lives of young people living with cancer – particularly ensuring that young Australians have access to both cutting edge medical treatment and world leading psychological and social support as well as expanding Canteen’s reach to offspring and siblings after seeing how much my brother’s life was improved by his involvement in Canteen.
I have experienced the dichotomy of not having Canteen in my life during my initial two years of treatment and having it there 7 years since. Reflecting on that contrast has reinforced in my mind just how important the principles of youth empowerment, peer mentoring and support that Canteen espouses is. I came to Canteen having experienced periods of both social anxiety disorder and depression, and both Canteen’s model of empowering its young people and its tradition of support from my peers has been invaluable to me.
Outside of Canteen I am completing a much-deferred degree in International Relations at LaTrobe University in my hometown of Melbourne and work as a journalist – primarily covering football (the real, round ball version) for publications such as The Age and organisations such as Melbourne City and Professional Footballers Australia.