Friday 26th May 2017

While Parliamentary candidates are campaigning for their political lives, about 400 young people aged between 13 and 24 will be diagnosed with cancer, several hundreds more will be receiving treatment and many thousands will continue their lives in remission. 

That makes this the ideal moment to restate and to reaffirm our purpose. 

We’re determined that young people won’t face cancer alone. They must be able to access the specialist care they need from the point of diagnosis, throughout their active treatment and after that ends. Everything from expert skills, to the physical environment, to the emotional support of professionals and peers, plays a significant role in a young person’s experience of care and it should all be designed to respect their age-specific needs.

We’re also committed to ensuring that young people both know and talk about cancer. Secondary school cancer education, like that provided by Teenage Cancer Trust, can empower young people to take control of their own health and inform the rest of their lives. It can also help them better to manage and to cope when a friend or loved one goes through diagnosis and treatment.

Top of our wish list will always be that the charity is no longer needed, but both biological and economic realities mean that it is. Trustees are in the background, sometimes just watching and admiring the energy of our colleagues and the resilience of the young people whom they serve.  But, when we can, we bring our own experiences, influence and determination to bear.

I know how it feels and what it means to face life-changing illness as a teenager. I recognise the importance of specialist skills, the liberating power of knowledge, the therapeutic impact of functional and stimulating surroundings, and the soul-enhancing benefits of being around people of a similar age who are confronting similar challenges. 

With that privilege of life experience comes a responsibility to act. No general election campaign is going to stop me standing up and shouting out until every young person with cancer receives the care they need and deserve. I’m very attached to this soap box.

So, to the would-be Parliamentarians who may be reading, shall we ring you or will you call us on 9 June?

Want to find out more about our calls to action this general election, and what you can do to make young people with cancer a priority?

If you have any questions about the election, or our policy work in general, you can get in touch with our team via email.