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Redkite

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Redkite is a national charity which aims to give young people with cancer the tools they need to live their best possible life. 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
• support and guidance to pursue goals and dreams, or help to set 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.

Latest Updates

Neave’s Story

Year 12 is meant to be the time when a young person dreams of broader horizons and spreading their wings, but for Neave, it was the year she took on the toughest challenge of her young life. 

She was diagnosed with t-cell acute lymphoblastic lymphoma. What followed was a gruelling treatment, punctuated by long hospital stays.  

“When I was diagnosed it was out-of-the-blue. My world was rocked,” Neave said.  

Although only 17, Neave was on a ward with patients much older than her. Redkite know the stress and isolation young people experience in the adult hospital system – it’s one of the reasons we created the Diagnosis Support Pack for young people. It’s full of useful things for a long hospital stay, and shows a young person entering the bewildering and scary world of cancer that someone cares – that no matter what, Redkite is along for the ride with them.  

After yet another scan in the early days of her treatment, Neave received hers. It marked the start of her connection to Redkite. 

“There’s a pen that I still have, which I can’t use anymore because I’ve used all the ink. I used my Redkite pen for a journal I started when I was first diagnosed. My Redkite pen gave me the ability to write down my feelings during my early stages of treatment,” Neave said. 

Neave’s life had been seriously disrupted by the treatment that was saving it. Being in her final year of school, she was meant to be studying for her Year 12 exams, but often wasn’t well enough. With her education on pause, she needed to find ways to keep her mind active and her spirits up. The Redkite team she had connected with thanks to the information in the Diagnosis Support Pack, helped her find activities she could do during her treatment. They also helped her re-imagine her future. 

“On the days when I was slightly well enough, my Redkite counsellor helped find me activities to do, like art courses to go to. When I was out of hospital, I was able to sit and talk with someone at their office in the city,” she said.  

Neave’s story is similar to the stories of hundreds of young people throughout the country. Thanks to your generosity and the Dry July Foundation, you’ve been able to give young people like Neave the resources they need to make sure cancer is only part of their story, not the whole book. 


Dry July funds help Redkite support people like Ben

When Ben was 23 years old, doctors discovered he had a malignant brain tumour: astrocytoma glioma. “I was bluntly told: ‘You have cancer’,” he remembers.

Life changed overnight for Ben who immediately underwent brain surgery. The neurosurgeons removed 95 percent of his tumour, but Ben had 33 sessions of radiation in seven weeks, followed by six months of life-sapping chemotherapy, to remove the rest.

For Ben, Redkite was there help him maintain his independence during treatment. “It was helpful to speak with people at Redkite who understood what I was going through. I really couldn’t imagine going through the challenging times I endured without the warming support from the Redkite social workers. They took so much pressure off the whole process, they even assisted with organising my appointments. They gave me a real sense of comfort when it seemed like nothing else in that environment could.”

“It was comforting to know that Redkite was ready to support my family and I from the beginning. They found me with open arms and were ready to help,” Ben added. “I had never been involved with a charity before I was diagnosed and never understood how much they could help someone going through such a challenging time. They were the warm security blanket I never knew I needed. Words will never truly express the thanks I have towards Redkite and the support they give young people who are going through cancer."

Redkite receives additional grant from Dry July Foundation

We're pleased to announce that Redkite has received an additional grant from the Dry July Foundation October grant round.

This grant will fund the Community Based Support Program for Young People and their families.

This support includes counselling and information both during and post-treatment, including support to bereaved families for as long as they need it

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.”


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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