Hi, I am Matthew Bonser. I’m 21 years old, the Chair for the WA Local Leadership Group and a Canteen Youth Ambassador. I joined Canteen in March 2012, alongside my older sister when my dad was diagnosed with Lymphoma. I had just started year 11 and I was very oblivious to the word cancer and what was going on but what I wasn’t oblivious to was how fast the cancer and the treatment really took over and started to make dad really sick.
I was lucky enough to have around the clock support from Canteen during this time. Canteen was a place that I could go to which gave me a break from the real world. I was able to spend some quality time with young people my own age in a similar situation to mine and take part in activities and programs to help me deal with my feelings but also just guide me through my cancer journey.
I attended a handful of overnight camps and programs during my first year but was also able to attend counselling sessions in the Canteen office on a weekly basis. I later lost my dad on February 15th, 2013. Canteen gave me a safe space to be able to talk to someone and receive support from someone who really got it.