2012 was the year when my cancer journey began. I was just starting year seven when my Dad sat my family down to tell us that he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer, it was something no one ever expected to happen. Living in a rural environment meant I had never encountered someone in a similar situation to myself and this made me feel extremely alone.
I first heard about Canteen through my mum who had picked up a brochure in the chemo ward of the hospital. My two younger brothers and I then joined Canteen halfway through 2014. At Canteen everyone understands what you are dealing with, and they become your family. Towards the end of 2014, my Dad’s cancer was becoming increasingly worse and had spread to his brain. During the following months Canteen became my escape, and the camps and activities were the lights at the end of treacherous tunnels. It was the only place left where I was able to be myself, relax and forget about the stress at home.
In April 2015, my Dad passed away. I had so many caring people around me who understood my heartbreak and pain, and with their crucial support, I have been able to cope with one of the hardest times in my life, and I strongly believe that I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.