Haven House has launched a brand new film to raise awareness of the support available to children and young people with cancer as part of Hospice Care Week.

The film shows Antony Mooney, Jessica Wilson and Adam Marshall from Haven House’s Teenage Cancer Group talking candidly about the impact of receiving a cancer diagnosis and how the group provides support and the opportunity to have fun and make friends.

The group was formed in October 2016, after Jessica, who is in remission from leukaemia, suggested to Haven House staff that it would be nice to meet other young people with a cancer diagnosis in a less formal setting than hospital.

During the two and a half hour monthly sessions, the group can play games such as darts, table football and cards, relax in the grounds, create some artwork and enjoy pizza and BBQs.

On 5 October, Adam, Jessica, Antony were special guests at the Haven House Autumn Ball where the charity’s new film was unveiled for the first time in front of 300 guests.

Adam, 14 from Wanstead, said: “I was diagnosed less than a month before my 14th birthday and that was the day which ruined everything.”

Adam, who loves to play his guitar but can longer hear high frequency sounds due to his treatment, added: “It kind of sucks if you get cancer, I’ve lost a lot of things for the rest of my life.”

Jessica, 17 from Chingford, who has recently completed her GCSEs and hopes to study to become a children’s nurse, said: “You always think that it’s not going to happen to you, but it wasn’t a surprise because the reality is that cancer does hit a lot of people.”

Antony, 14 from Chingford, who is having treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, found it difficult to make friends at his new secondary school due to his diagnosis which meant he missed most of Year 7.

Through Haven House’s Teenage Cancer Group Antony has found support, made friends and been able to access services such as music therapy, physio and yoga which help with his recovery.

Antony said: “The group is like a mini family to me. I love meeting with them every month. I can relax, have fun and just be myself as everyone around me understands what I am going through.

“Not being able to do what I used to be able to do is hard, but you really have to keep your chin up and carry on with life!”

Katie Lewis, Specialist Children’s Outreach Nurse at Haven House, said: “We are so proud of Antony, Jessica and Adam for talking candidly about the impact of receiving a cancer diagnosis and the difference our Teenage Cancer Group has made to them.

“Children and young people with cancer can sometimes feel isolated, and during the treatment phase of their disease can be absent from school for long periods of time.

"Our support group is a great way for young people with cancer to have fun and meet other young people and make friends.

“We hope this film will raise awareness of the support needed for young people with cancer in our area.”

To watch our new film and share it with your friends please visit our Hospice Care Week page.