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Redkite

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$351,002.64 raised

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Redkite is a national charity which aims to give young people with cancer the best possible quality of life – now and into the future. No matter where in Australia a young person is treated or lives, Redkite’s professional support team is available for them and their families to give:

• counselling, practical help and trusted information
• financial assistance for essentials like travel to and from hospital, rent and food at a time when parents and young people need to give up work
• education and career support and guidance to pursue dreams or find new ones

Young people don’t have to face cancer alone. With your help, they can have the support they need wherever they may be.

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Dry July funding impact - Ben's Story

When Ben was 23 years old, he went to his doctor after having a serious of painful frequent headaches. His doctor was concerned and insisted he needed a brain scan. Tests soon revealed Ben had a malignant brain tumour that was four-centimetres wide. “I was bluntly told ‘You have cancer,’” he remembers.

After Ben received confirmation of his diagnosis, he underwent emergency brain surgery. The neurosurgeons removed 95% of his tumour. To treat the remaining 5%, Ben had 33 sessions of radiation in seven weeks, followed by six months of chemotherapy. During that time, he lost 30 kgs. “That was definitely the worst,” he says. “It just took life away from me, but I tried to stay as positive as possible. It made me realise all the small things I had taken for granted like going for walks to the park.” 

At the start of his long stay in hospital Ben was given a Redkite Support Pack, co-funded by Dry July Foundation. The large red duffle bag contains information and practical essentials to help during treatment like a reusable cup, toiletries, socks and ear plugs. “It was comforting to know that there was support ready to be given to my family and I.” 

After Ben left hospital, Redkite was on hand to help Ben maintain his independence and to give him support during his recovery. “My partner Emma and I had just moved into our first home together when I was diagnosed. Redkite provided a lot of mental and emotional support that really is priceless. It was helpful to speak with people who understood what we were going through.”

Ben is now in remission and has a follow-up scan every six months. Today, he strives to be the healthiest he can be. “When I was going through chemotherapy all I wanted was to be healthy, now I'm in remission and ready to start working. I’m very lucky that I still have the ability to walk and talk and live a somewhat normal life.”


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Dry July 2019 fundraising will support Redkite's Cancer Journey Program for Young People

Dry July Foundation is proud to support Redkite's Cancer Journey Program for Young People, thanks to funds raised through Dry July 2019.

For a young person, a cancer diagnosis comes as a significant shock. Cancer treatment brings unfamiliar surroundings, lengthy stays away from home, social isolation, complex medical terminology and painful procedures. Feelings of uncertainty, fear, alienation, resentment and loss of control can overwhelm young people and their families. Life after treatment continues to be stressful as they adjust to a new normal; the physical impacts of treatment can be ongoing and there is the continued fear of relapse.

Redkite’s Community-Based Social Workers provide quality support to help people adjust to a cancer diagnosis, manage family and relationship pressures, deal with strong emotions, or share feelings and experiences in a safe, respectful space. Social workers also provide information and resources to families and young people that can help them to cope with their situation and recognise that it is not unusual to feel the way they do. Redkite Social Workers also work alongside Education and Career Consultants to help young people to build confidence and self-esteem to make decisions about their future.

A recent Deloitte study, commissioned by CanTeen Australia indicated that the total financial cost of cancer for young people, per person is around $1.3M over their lifetime, and around 40% of this cost is connected to loss in productivity (absenteeism, interrupted employment and reduced rate of returning to work).

Redkite’s Education and Career Support program aims to reintegrate young people into their education and the workforce to reduce their risk of becoming reliant on welfare and improve their mental wellbeing. Through tailored education support and guidance, young people are able to build their best possible futures. The long-term impact is as follows:

• Enable them to get back on track with work, study or training that has been interrupted by cancer treatment

• Help them to maintain a sense of normality and keep up with their peers and friends educationally, developmentally and socially during cancer treatment

• Increase their self-esteem and confidence, allay their fears and empower them to build the best possible future for themselves after their cancer treatment ends

• Reduce the risk of them not completing their education or being unable to find employment and becoming welfare dependent

Reference: CanTeen Australia (2017), The economic cost of cancer in adolescents and young adults.


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Dry July Foundation co-funds Diagnosis Support Packs for Young People

Dry July funds from 2019 will help co-fund Redkite's Diagnosis Support Packs for Young People.

Each year, approximately 1,100 adolescents and young adults will be diagnosed with cancer, overnight their world is completely turned upside-down. They can go straight from receiving their test results and diagnosis at their local doctor, to a hospital emergency department to begin life-saving cancer treatment, leaving no time to pack any clothes, toiletries and other necessities for the weeks or months that lie ahead in hospital. 

The Redkite diagnosis support pack for young people is a resource given at the point of a cancer diagnosis, containing age-appropriate information about managing education and work, considerations about fertility, and how to support family, friends and partners.

The high-quality duffel bag also contains practical items like toiletries, magazines and a reusable coffee cup. This resource was developed based on feedback from young people on what they most need at the time of diagnosis. When young people return home, they use their bags for ongoing treatment to and from the hospital. It connects and unites them in the oncology ward, as a recognisable symbol of solidarity and hope.

The vital information in the diagnosis support pack refers these young adults to the other support Redkite services that provide, such as counselling support, book club and education grants and scholarships to help them get back on track. Many of our clients report to us that they feel supported and not alone on their cancer journey when they receive the bag.

Redkite believes that for a young person with cancer to have the best possible quality of life, it’s important that they know where to seek support. Young people value having the knowledge, skills and resources offered within the diagnosis support pack to help them on their cancer journey.

These bags contain:

• Toiletry kit including a toothbrush, deodorant and body wash.

• A Keep Cup and reusable water bottle

• Cup of Soup, Hot Chocolate Sachets and Mints

• Earphones, pen, beanie and cooler bag

• A blanket, stress ball and playing cards

• Empire/Mindfood Magazines

• $50 Coles Voucher

• Digital Thermometer

• Information and resource booklets

​"The bag has been extremely useful as it is all mine... in a place where everything else belongs to everyone else. It's empowering in a very disempowering environment" ​- Diagnosed 17-year-old 

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How Adry found his place in the world after cancer

Only months from finishing high school and feeling bulletproof, high achieving student Adry Awan received the news no young man expects to hear.

After months of drastic weight loss, muscle aches and a mysterious lump, Adry knew something was wrong, but he still went into shock when his doctor said: “you have testicular cancer”. The cancer had spread to vital organs. It felt like a nightmare. 

“At that point in my life, I had enough to worry about – passing the HSC, getting a date for my formal and deciding on a university degree,” he recalls. “I didn’t want to believe my doctor – it was so difficult to accept.” 

As Adry faced this “new normal”, he tried so hard to maintain his study, perform his school captain duties and spend time with his school mates. But every cycle of chemotherapy and radiotherapy left him sick and drained, making it impossible for him to live a normal life. 

Adry was often sad and angry. At times he felt suicidal. “I kept these feelings to myself,” he admits. “I didn’t want to cause more heartache to my loved ones.” 

It’s estimated that 17 young people like Adry will be diagnosed with cancer each week. It’s common to feel isolated, afraid, anxious and confused about the future. That’s why Redkite exists; to ensure young people like Adry don’t have to go it alone as they navigate cancer.  

From the moment a young person enters hospital for treatment, Redkite provies critical counselling, information and support.

One of the hardest things about cancer in your teens and early 20s is that it puts education and career dreams on hold, which is why Redkite offers young people career guidance to help them find alternative pathways to build a bright future. And because the emotional challenges often remain long after treatment is over, Redkite is there to provide counselling via the phone, email or through peer support groups no matter where they are.

Fortunately, when Adry was at his lowest point, he was encouraged to get counselling, and he learnt valuable skills to manage his mental health. Finally, he felt capable of doing things that made him feel good – watching the Sydney Swans play with his family and relaxing with his friends. Adry also received special consideration for his HSC, which took a huge amount of pressure off.

Things were looking up – but then came an unexpected setback when two weeks after graduating, Adry learnt his cancer had relapsed.

“I was absolutely devastated," he says. “I felt like the rug had been pulled from under me.”

Adry and his parents and doctor agreed he would defer his media studies degree. It was a huge blow that brought unexpected blessings when Adry’s Redkite social worker introduced him to the Redkite education and support team. 

This was a lifeline, giving Adry support he needed to set short-term and long-term goals, and develop a realistic plan to make them happen.   

“That year, the team taught me how to write resumes and cover letters, and helped prepare me for job interviews,” says Adry. “Knowing my dream was to one day work in media and communications, they connected me with people in the industry, whose knowledge and experience allowed me to see my dream a lot more clearly.” 

The next year, Adry was overjoyed to finish treatment and begin univeristy. Redkite continued to be there to support Adry as he began his studies.  

“Support from Redkite helped ease my transition to life after cancer, ensuring it was as smooth as possible,” he says. “I’m now living a much healthier and more rewarding life. I am proud to say that I am cancer… free.” 

Adry has now finished his media studies degree and is thrilled to be working in the industry. Mental health remains a priority – he keeps connected to his best friends and has real and honest conversations with his family and therapist.

“Looking back on my journey with cancer, I recognise that the support I received from Redkite helped shape me into becoming the best version of myself,” he says.

“Redkite were there to help lessen the burden of cancer. This has made me confident that there are no challenges in my future that I cannot overcome. More importantly, there are no challenges I have to face alone.”


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Dry July Foundation supporting Redkite in 2019

This week in Australia, 17 teenagers and young adults will hear the devastating news they have cancer. Cancer puts a big question mark on the present and the future. It’s scary and we hear all the time that facing cancer can feel lonely – particularly for young patients treated in adult hospitals with people twice their age. Study, work, friendships, health - everything is impacted. Some may miss a whole year of school, and others may have to deal with treatment impacts like the loss of a limb. Many young people share that on top of missing out on so much, they worry about the impact of their illness on their families.

During the weeks, months or years of treatment each young person faces, cancer charity Redkite wants them to know someone has their back every step of the way. That’s why your fundraising during Dry July is so important. You’re ensuring young people with cancer are supported and know big things are still possible.

How your fundraising helps

Someone to talk to who really understands

Your Dry July fundraising will ensure young cancer patients can pick up their phone or sit down face-to-face and talk with people who understand what they’re going through.

Redkite’s caring, professional support team gives counselling to help young people adjust to cancer, cope with family and friendship changes and manage and share strong feelings in a safe space. They can give guidance on navigating hospitals and treatment and can connect young people to trusted information that they may need to grapple with big issues such as body image, infertility and their future after cancer.

Help reach education and work dreams

Many young people find that with changes to their health and outlook during treatment, their education and career ambitions change too. Some teenagers can miss a year or more of school and feel they’re behind not only with their studies but also with their friendship circles and life experiences. Others can feel inspired to pursue new directions but not know where or how to start.

No matter what their dreams are, cancer shouldn’t stop young people achieving them. Your Dry July fundraising will ensure young patients are supported by Redkite Education and Career Specialists. These specialists help young people identify their goals and build strategies to reach them. They also help with important life skills such as resume writing and interviewing. Importantly, they understand the ongoing health and psychological impacts cancer can have. They can find young people job placements and advocate on their behalf with schools and universities to give them every opportunity to reach their dreams.


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