Teenage Cancer Trust and Bristol Volksfest in new charity partnership

January 12 2019
Teenage Cancer Trust and Bristol Volksfest in new charity partnership

Teenage Cancer Trust and Bristol Volksfest are proud to announce a major new charity partnership championing the needs of local young people and their families, on World Cancer Day

Together the partnership will raise money to support Teenage Cancer Trust’s life-changing nursing care for teenagers and young people diagnosed with cancer.

Horfield resident Elena Blackwell, from Bristol, was just 19 years old when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

“It all started after my optician sent me to see my doctor, who told me I needed to come in right now as they had found a growth in my brain. I was at work when he called; I got on my bike and went straight to the hospital.”

Just one month later Elena had brain surgery at Southmead Hospital and was then referred to the Teenage Cancer Trust unit ‘Area 61’ in the Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre.

“Being on a Teenage Cancer Trust ward meant I met other young people with cancer. At Southmead I saw no one else who was young, and it helped having people I could relate to and being around people I didn’t have to explain everything to. It made such a difference because I felt like they understood.”

Elena, now 23, has had 7 surgeries altogether in addition to proton therapy and chemotherapy; however the treatment has not come without its complications, and the radiation from the proton therapy treatment has affected her short-term memory.

“I remember one particular day – which is funny to say! I was with my brother and sister; my mum had gone out and every 20 seconds I kept asking them where she was. We went straight back to the unit and I was admitted again as an in-patient for three days. It was a really frightening time. The best thing about those three days was having the extra bed in my room, so my brother and sister could take it in turns to stay with me. Teenage Cancer Trust wards don’t have visiting hours; there’s no question about how long someone can stay with you. It was so nice, just having someone there, and having the break-out room where I could go and be with other young people.”

Elena still suffers from memory loss and other side-effects, and her brain tumour is monitored every 6-months, but she is still supported by the Teenage Cancer Trust’s Youth Support Coordinator and included in social activities, trips out and opportunities to attend charity-funded conferences such as ‘Find Your Sense of Tumour’. Teenage Cancer Trust believe young people’s lives shouldn’t stop because they have cancer, and this kind of support provides welcome distractions from the challenges of treatment and coping with cancer at a young age.

Bristol Volksfest is a traditional grass roots Volkswagen show and family camping weekend held at Birches Farm, Long Ashton on 14 – 16 June. The festival started in 1992, bringing like-minded VDub enthusiasts together and share their appreciation for the iconic vehicles. Now it’s developed into an action packed family weekend celebrating all things Volkswagen with an array of traders, independent caterers live music, DJ’s, kids zone and entertainment.

"Bristol Volksfest is all about sharing our passion for VW’s whilst enjoying time with family and friends. In our lifetime most of us will be affected by cancer in some form; whether that is a personal fight against the disease or something we support our family and/or friends through. “Nothing can prepare you for this battle, but just imagine having to go through this as a young person, still finding their feet in this crazy world with so much to look forward to and yet to experience. The work Teenage Cancer Trust does with young people and their families in Bristol and the South West is equally amazing and necessary, we know the awareness and funds we raise can help bring young people together making cancer a less isolating and traumatic experience” said Peter Ashby, organiser of Bristol Volksfest.

Teenage Cancer Trust provide life-changing nursing care and support for the 7 young people aged 13-24 who are diagnosed with cancer each day in the UK. This includes access to world-leading Teenage Cancer Trust specialist nurses and age-appropriate hospital spaces with big TV screens, use of a play station and games, as well as a jukebox and musical instruments.

In the South West the charity has built and continues to fund a specialist unit called ‘Area 61’ at Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre and provides dedicated staff who work on the unit and in hospitals across the region. This team of experts support young people and their families before, during and long after treatment has finished, ensuring no young person faces cancer alone.

In line with this, Bristol Volksfest will be donating free tickets for young people over the weekend, in addition to lots of fundraising activities at the festival as well as taking part in other fundraising events such as Tough Mudder before and after the event – with a target of £5000, hopefully more.

“We’re so grateful to Bristol Volksfest for choosing to support local young cancer patients and their families. Today in the South West, on World Cancer Day it will cost around £1,600 to provide support for local young people through cancer awareness sessions in schools, maintain our specialist units, fund specialist staff and activities. It is only through our supporters like Bristol Volksfest that we can be there before during and long after cancer,” said Bridget Woodard, Regional Fundraising Manager South West for Teenage Cancer Trust.

Tickets are now available on the Bristol Volksfest website

https://www.bristolvolksfest.co.uk/tickets and you can also make a start with fundraising before the event by donating to the festival’s Just Giving page

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bristol-volksfest

For more information about Teenage Cancer Trust visit www.teenagecancertrust.org or email hello@teenagecancertrust.org