Shannae Carnell joined the Canteen Board of Directors in November 2019.
Her first experience with cancer was at 10 years old when her Dad was diagnosed with bowel cancer. He has been in remission since 2009. Fast-forwarding to high school, just before starting her year 12 exams, Shannae’s Mum was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma. She passed away at the start of 2016.
The following month Shannae started her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Western Australia. It was not easy. She had lost her biggest support and found it hard to find people her age who understood what she was going through.
Soon after she joined Canteen and realised she was not alone – whether that was feeling overwhelmed with grief at birthday parties or trying to figure out how to tell new friends about her Mum’s death. The counselling and peer support from Canteen helped her get through the past four years.
Her experience of the support provided by Canteen inspired her to give back to the organisation that helped her so much, so she pursued a leadership role. Shannae has been an active member of the WA leadership team since 2018 and has attended numerous leadership development programs. This empowerment furthered her passion to advocate for the health and wellbeing of all young people, especially those impacted by cancer, within the wider not-for-profit sphere. As a result of her advocacy and dedication, she was named Australia’s Global Relay for Life Hero of Hope for 2019 by the American Cancer Society.
She is incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to continue that work Canteen’s Board of Directors. Having experienced first-hand the empowerment and support that Canteen offers, she looks forward to making the most of this opportunity to make a difference for other young people living with cancer.
Outside of Canteen, Shannae has now graduated from her undergraduate degree and is pursuing a Doctor of Medicine at the University of Western Australia.