Share experiences, make friends, find information
The children and young people’s cancer charity has launched the new community to create a friendly and comfortable digital space for 16 to 24-year-olds who have, or have had, cancer.
Members of the community can share experiences, make friends, find useful information and - when necessary - support each other through difficult times.
They will be able to use the community to discuss their cancer experience and its impact on their lives, such as diagnosis, treatment, their relationships with friends and family, work and education – but also topics unrelated to cancer such as their favourite films or music.
Recent research by CLIC Sargent found that the internet is increasingly used for support by young people with a cancer diagnosis. In the charity’s 2014 report Coping with cancer – supporting young people’s resilience, 78% of young people surveyed said they used the internet to seek support, mainly through interacting with other young people.
Funded by ITV's Text Santa
The online community was set up after discussions with young people who had experienced cancer and was built with the needs of its users in mind. It has been funded for three years by Text Santa, ITV’s annual Christmas fundraising event, after CLIC Sargent was one of the six charities supported by the campaign in 2013.
CLIC Sargent Director of Communications and Campaigning Liz North said: “We are delighted to have been able to develop this new resource for young cancer patients and survivors thanks to the funding we received from ITV’s Text Santa.
“Our research with young people found this is a service which is very much needed. They told us peer-to-peer support and access to quality online information was really important to them and we believe it is key to building resilience and enabling young people do deal more confidently with the impact of a cancer diagnosis and treatment.
“Our young people’s programme is a key area of development for us at CLIC Sargent; our ambition is to reach to support all those young people with cancer who need us. We look forward to our online community becoming a key resource for young people, enabling them to support each other and feel less isolated.”
A friendly digital space for young cancer patients
Elisha Searl, 21, from Plymouth, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in May 2012.
She spent many months in isolation in hospital and also had a stem cell transplant. Now in remission, Elisha, who writes a blog about her experience of cancer, said she believes CLIC Sargent’s online community will be a huge support for other young people.
“I think it is an amazing idea. All young adults use the internet, whether on their laptops or on their mobiles.
The online community is a great way to speak to other people of a similar age going through the same thing.
“For me personally, when I was diagnosed I was on my own on an adult ward. I only met one other young person with cancer while I was going through treatment so I didn’t get the opportunity to speak with other young people in the same situation very often. It can be isolating, especially if you can’t leave hospital.
“There’s nothing else online out there specifically for this age group and I think young adults with cancer will be attracted to use it. It’s very easy to post and read messages.
"There’s access to information as well, which is really useful. When you are diagnosed you are given a lot of booklets and things but it’s easier to go to it online when you need it, it can be overwhelming at the beginning.”
The online community is designed to be easily accessible on mobile devices and tablets and is monitored by a community manager.