Our story and history
Since 1990, we’ve learnt a lot about what it’s like to be a young person with cancer and the unique emotional, physical and practical needs that come with a diagnosis.
We have a fantastic team of staff and volunteers who are inspired daily by the amazing young people who are treated on our units and via our outreach services. Young people help us decide the best way to offer cancer services and are at the heart of everything we do.
Teenage Cancer Trust grew out of the dedication and passion of a group of women, which included life president and founder Myrna Whiteson MBE, who fundraised for a children’s intensive care heart unit at Guy’s Hospital in 1989.
The group met a mother whose 13 year old son had cancer and was being treated both in a children’s ward and alongside older people in an adult oncology ward. Not only was he facing the trauma of cancer and cancer treatment, but he was isolated from other young people going through the same thing.
They set out to provide a ‘teenage environment’ to help young people with cancer and raised the £330,000 needed to fund it. On 22 November 1990, Teenage Cancer Trust’s first specialist cancer unit at the Middlesex Hospital in London was officially opened by Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. At that point, the group imagined their work was done.
“We never dreamed back then in the early 90s that Teenage Cancer Trust would become what it is today. We had no great vision of the future at that stage, but just wanted to do something that would make things better for young people experiencing the great burden of cancer diagnosis and treatment.”
Teenage Cancer Trust has grown to become a global leader in the field of young cancer care, our pioneering model admired the world over. The lives of thousands of young people have been transformed by specialist care and support by highly experienced experts.
“The Teenage Cancer Trust unit in Sheffield felt really welcoming and this made such a difference; the nurses were great and made me feel at home and I met other people who were going through what I was experiencing.”
- Julia, diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma
As well as our network of care and support services in hospital units and via hospitals and homes across the UK, our work has grown to include:
- Find Your Sense of Tumour, an annual conference for young people with cancer
- The biennial International Conference on Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Medicine for teenage and young adult cancer specialists
- a funding programme for research and the further education of health professionals.
Dr Adrian Whiteson OBE and Myrna Whiteson MBE and volunteers, begin fundraising for the first Teenage Cancer Trust unit, to create a specialist centre of care for teenagers and young adults facing cancer
The unit opens at the Middlesex Hospital, London
First International Conference on Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Medicine. This biennial event goes from strength to strength and is now considered one of the world’s most significant in the field of teenage and young adult cancer medicine.
Teenage Cancer Trust’s education programme begins to teach young students about cancer, its signs and treatments as well as giving healthy lifestyle tips. Today the education team visits 100s of schools a year and produces resources for teachers and youth workers to spread awareness of cancer
Teenage Cancer Trust raises its first million. Last year we raised £16 million to help young people facing cancer in the UK.
Unit opens at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle
Unit opens at The Christie Hospital, Manchester
Unit opens at St James’s University Hospital, Leeds
Unit opens at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham
We hold our first show at the Royal Albert Hall called “The Who and Friends”. The band are joined onstage by artists including Noel Gallagher, Bryan Adams and Paul Weller, setting in motion one of the biggest annual events in the music and comedy calendar.
We hold the first Find Your Sense of Tumour weekend conference for young people with cancer. Now in its 14th year, the event provides a mix of inspirational presentations, therapies and social activities, and can often be the first time a young cancer patient meets other young people going through the same thing.
Units open at:
Our third annual concert at the Royal Albert Hall sees Coldplay, Eric Clapton, Richard Ashcroft and Madness head up 6 amazing nights of music
Our first skin cancer prevention campaign is launched
Teenage Cancer Trust helps to establish Teenagers and Young Adults with Cancer (TYAC), a membership organisation for professionals involved in the care of young people with cancer
We fund and appoint the world’s first Professor of Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Medicine
Unit opens at University College Hospital, London
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) publish the Children’s and Young People’s Improving Outcomes Guidance (CYPIOG) endorsing Teenage Cancer Trust’s philosophy of care as best practice
Teenage Cancer Trust helps establish the National Cancer Research Institute Teenage and Young Adult Clinical Studies Development Group
Unit opens at The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, Glasgow
New unit opens at St James’s University Hospital, Leeds
The first Teenage Cancer Trust nurse consultant is appointed. Our nurses are teenage cancer experts, and their job is to make sure young people receive the highest quality of care possible when they’re facing cancer.
Units opens at:
The Oasis Day Centre opens at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge
Teenage Cancer Trust wins the Judge’s Special Award in the Building Better Healthcare Awards for the Skypad unit in Cardiff
Units open at:
Our unit in Cardiff receives a highly recognized RIBA award
The 10th anniversary of Teenage Cancer Trust’s shows at the Royal Albert Hall feature Arctic Monkeys, Noel Gallagher and comedy from Jimmy Carr and Noel Fielding
Design of the unit at Birmingham Children’s Hospital is recognised when architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands and Teenage Cancer Trust scoop the Best Interior Design award at the Building Better Health Care Awards
Units open at:
The unit at Birmingham Children’s Hospital receives a highly recognized RIBA award
Units open at:
The first dedicated outpatient Teenage Cancer Trust unit opens at University College Hospital Cancer Centre
We pilot an exciting new outreach nursing service in the North West of England. For the first time, our specialist staff can visit young patients having treatment in hospitals that don’t have a Teenage Cancer Trust unit, so those patients can also benefit from the expert care and support we provide.
Units open at:
Stephen Sutton, a terminally ill patient treated at our units in Birmingham, raises a phenomenal £5 million for Teenage Cancer Trust, the most an individual has ever raised for the charity. Sadly Stephen dies in May 2014, but leaves behind an incredible legacy through his positivity, determination and courage.
Unit opens at Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre
Units open at:
Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow
Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool
Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham
We begin to roll out our outreach nursing service across the rest of the UK.
Launch of IAM portal, an assessment and resource hub for young people and health professionals to identify support young people may need during treatment
Launch of Youth Advisory Group, made up of young people with direct experience of our services
All services adapt to coronavirus pandemic, prioritising protecting young people and frontline staff
Unit opens at the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People, Edinburgh