My Favourite Charity: Shine Cancer Support
Having cancer can be lonely for any age. It is a scary time and its important that you can find the right support and I have found this through Shine Cancer Support a wonderful UK Cancer Charity.
Who are Shine Cancer Support
Shine Cancer Support is a great charity for helping young adults with cancer in the UK. When I say young adults, I am referring to in their 20s 30s and 40s. There are other charities that support children and older generations who have cancer.
Shine Cancer Support was founded in by Emma Willis and another young lady who were diagnosed with breast cancer and realised they were the youngest ones in the clinic and there was little support for younger adults with cancer.
There were lots of children cancer groups and teenagers and a general cancer group such as Macmillan. However younger adults will have different priorities and concerns than children and older adults when dealing with cancer.
Shine Cancer Support is my favourite charity and I owe them so much. The charity and its members have helped me through cancer diagnosis, treatment, living after cancer and now living with stage 4 cancer.
Online Cancer Support
Shine Cancer Support has a great online community. There is a secret Facebook group that only members can see what is posted so like younger breast cancer network it is a safe place to ask questions and get support from others
Read more about YBCN
Face to face cancer support
Shine Cancer charity also has face to face support. There are regional groups that do meet ups and it is normally in a coffee shop or a bar with the first drink being on Shine.
I found these meetups vital when I was going through primary chemotherapy. I met with people who lived near me who I could ask questions and just see a friendly face.
As I am a keen traveller, I tend to gate-crash other regional groups if they have a meeting when I am in the area. I have actually made some lifelong friends through Shine Cancer support, some who I class as my best friends.
Shine Great Escape
One of the big annual events is the Shine Great Escape and this is a residential break at The Grove Hotel in Bournemouth where you will meet other young adults who have had a cancer diagnosis. It is all different types of cancer and stages.
This event is funded by the charity and so it is vital that they get donations to keep this break going as it really helped me and I would highly recommend.
Make a donation to Shine Cancer Support
We had workshops about living with cancer. I was not long after chemotherapy when I attended, and I learnt so much and got loads out of the weekend. The people who run Shine are an absolute credit to the cancer community.
Professionals were invited along we had a talk on travel insurance which was vital for me as I was keen to get back to travelling the world. (Just before my cancer diagnosis I had planned a year to go travelling which was cut short but I have since made up for)
It wasn’t all about cancer though we had so many laughs, we did karaoke had a few bottles of prosecco and just had fun. Dont get me wrong there were tears, it was an emotionally break but so worth it.
Another great annual Shine event is Shine camp. My first Shine camp experience I did not camp. I had never been camping before and it had never appealed to me, so I stayed in a B&B that was on site.
However, it looked so much fun I said if I were going to go to camp again next time I would stay in a tent. I did not get to go the following year as I was travelling but went in 2018 and camped. It was my second time camping that year and I just loved it.
I had my own tent, but I was going through chemotherapy so did not feel I had the energy to put up my tent, so I shared with a friend who had a roomy 2-bedroom tent.
I loved it so much that I invested in a good-sized tent and could not wait to go again. This year I had my own tent but still too weak to put it up some brilliant volunteers from the Shine Cancer Support group put my tent up.#
There are people who offer support at Shine Camp, who you can ask questions and also if you are on your own it makes you feel safer knowing you find someone wearing a high vis jacket to get any help.
There were options for a ££ to have a tent ready and waiting for when you arrived at camp. This is great as it has opened the opportunity to camp for so many more people especially if they come on public transport, they do not have to think about carry loads of equipment with them.
Who can go to Shine Camp
Any young adult who has a cancer diagnosis can go to Shine camp. I go on my own others go solo, with their partners or family. Everyone is friendly and everyone is made to feel welcome.
What happens at Shine camp
We call it cancer camp but apart from the connection of some of the other people having cancer there is nothing else that would say it is a camp about cancer.
It is an excellent place to share your experience with others, but you do not have to if you do not want to. In a way it is nice to holiday with people that have cancer or have had it as there is support available if you should require it.
It is just a group of people getting together having a great time, chatting, playing games and eating and the odd drink under the stars.
Shine camp varies every year which is what makes it fun, but I will tell you what happened this year to give you an example of what to expect.
People can arrive from 1pm on Friday afternoon and I got there early as I wanted help putting up my tent. Also, it was glorious weather not like the previous year when our summer ended the weekend camp was on and we had stormy weather all weekend.
A large marquee is the main hub for the camping group. This is where people meet for activities and if the dreaded rain comes, we have cover.
Friday is normally the night everyone brings something to contribute to a buffet style dinner. This year however was a special Shine camp as it was the 10th anniversary so we had pizza.
We had the choice of four different pizzas including gluten free options which were cooked in an outside pizza oven. It was delicious I was surprised that we got a pizza each I thought they were going to cook pizzas we just got a few slices so that was a nice surprise.
The Saturday night we had a BBQ and get a visit from an ice cream van which is always a favourite with the kids at shine camp as well as the adults to be honest.
I just want to say a massive thank you to Shine Cancer support and its many volunteers that helped make Shine Camp run smoothly and so much fun.
Other Shine events
Shine holds fundraising events as this is how it collects donations to be able to offer the amazing support that it does.
Shine also has a connect conference which is a way of meeting others with a cancer diagnosis and experts in the cancer field attend to offer advice on areas such as fatigue.
Shine works closely with cancer professionals and has a blog offering more words of wisdom of what it is like living with cancer in the UK.
Lastly they even offer support for plus ones to help partners of people who have cancer diagnosis.
If you would like to know more about Shine Cancer Support check out their website