Tuesday 22nd November 2016

12 students were awarded the Post Graduate Certificate in Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Care, and 4 of these were the first to benefit from having their tuition fees paid through the Stephen Sutton Scholarship. A total of 50 scholarships will be awarded by 2020 to professionals working with young cancer patients.

Teenagers and young adults have a unique experience of cancer and it is vital that their care reflects their specific needs. The award winning Post Graduate Certificate in Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Care, delivered online, covers the latest developments and innovations in supporting this age group, inspiring change in practice and improved services, here in the UK and beyond.

The funding is part of the incredible amount raised through donations inspired by Stephen Sutton, which currently stands at more than £5.6m, of which £1.6m is being spent on professional development for nurses and specialist staff.

Stephen was diagnosed with bowel cancer when he was 15 and died in May 2014 aged 19. Stephen’s Story captured the hearts and minds of the nation with his incredible positivity and ‘bucket list’ of things he wanted to achieve in the time he had left, and still inspires people today with the fundraising total on Stephen’s JustGiving page continuing to rise.

Jane Sutton has continued her son’s legacy through a range of fundraising activities, most recently climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise more than £10,500. On meeting the first group to benefit from the scholarship, she said: “To be invited back to Coventry University, 2 years on from collecting Stephen’s posthumous honorary doctorate in Science, and witness the first students to graduate after benefiting from the ‘Stephen Sutton Scholarship’ is an honour and a privilege. Congratulations to everyone who has graduated here today.

Jane with (l-r) Emma Masters, TYA Advanced Nurse Practitioner at the Royal Marsden Hospital; Alice Turner, Staff Nurse, Portsmouth;  Johan DeMunter, Nurse Consultant in Haematology, Belgium; Steven Shiels, CLIC Sargent Social Worker, who was awarded the Stephen Sutton Academic Excellence Award

Stephen’s wish was for every young person diagnosed with cancer to receive the best possible care and treatment. He would be thrilled to know these scholarships are playing such an important role in developing the knowledge of professionals working with young cancer patients and are therefore instrumental in helping to fulfil his wish.

Simon Fuller, Director of Services, said: “Stephen had ambitions to pursue a career in medicine, so we decided to name the scholarship programme in his memory. Stephen has helped us to take significant steps in ensuring all young people with cancer receive the best possible care, and we’re incredibly proud that, through his legacy, we’re able to fund the development of the professionals that provide this support.

Emma Masters, Advanced Nurse Practitioner for Teenage Cancer Trust at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Surrey, said: "Studying on the Coventry TYA Course has provided me with much greater insight into the often unique challenges facing young people who have been diagnosed with Cancer." 

Understanding the importance of peer support and of retaining some 'normality' for a young person, has been incredibly important to for me, and discovering the many ways I can support all the young people, at such a challenging time, both in practical and emotional ways has helped me immensely.

“Receiving the Stephen Sutton Scholarship has enabled me to undertake such a valuable course but also opened the door for me to work fully with Teenagers and Young People. Having received the Scholarship and started the course, I then found my dream job, which I subsequently started a few months later. I am incredibly proud to do the work I do but also that I was fortunate enough to receive the Stephen Sutton Scholarship.”

After graduating, Steven Shiels, Young Persons Social Worker at the children and young people’s cancer support charity CLIC Sargent, also received an academic Excellence Award in recognition of his dedication and commitment to high standards work while completing the post-graduate course. He said: “Receiving the Stephen Sutton Academic Excellence Award is a humbling achievement for me. It is an absolute honour to receive an award associated with Stephen’s legacy.

“Completing the Post Graduate Certificate in Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Care has been a rewarding experience, and everything I have learnt will help me achieve the best possible results for the young cancer patients I work with in my role at CLIC Sargent.”

Applications for the scholarship are invited from anyone working with teenagers and young adults with cancer - including doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, youth workers, and social workers. Head to the Coventry Uni website for more information.