Young people affected by cancer gather for leadership festival

August 22, 2017

Around 100 young people affected by cancer from across Australia are gathering in Sydney this weekend (25-27 August) for Canteen’s inaugural Youth Leadership Festival.

The event, themed What if you fly, aims to inspire young people to take up leadership roles within and beyond Canteen and has been made possible thanks to a generous donation from Specsavers.

The agenda will include Q&As with panellists such as Jess Miller, one of the youngest City of Sydney councillors, workshops facilitated by LinkedIn and the Future Directors Institute as well as a dinner cruise on Sydney Harbour.

“Youth leadership is a part of Canteen’s DNA. Young people are actively involved at all levels of Canteen, from helping to run local events through to chairing our Board of Directors,” said Canteen CEO Peter Orchard.

“I’m extraordinarily impressed by our young leaders every day. They’ve had their own world turned upside down by cancer and have still chosen to use their experience to help others.

“Canteen support helps young people develop the resilience and confidence they need to take up leadership roles within the organisation and beyond,” he added.

One of the young people attending the Leadership Festival is 18 year-old Gabi from Tamworth, who turned to Canteen for support after her Mum was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.

“Finding out that Mum had cancer felt like a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from, but Canteen was there for me and through counselling and attending camps with other young people affected by cancer I was able to get through it,” Gabi said.

“I turned to leadership, because I wanted to give back in some way and it’s helped me grow, feel empowered and use my passion of helping others,” she said.

Canteen helps young people aged 12-25 cope with a close family member’s cancer or their own. Through Canteen, young people can explore and deal with their feelings about cancer and connect with others their age who are in the same boat. For more information about Canteen, visit or call 1800 226 833.


Media contact: Kerry Kalcher, Head of Marketing and Communications
02 9007 0208 / 0405 283 352