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Crows help Canteen build Stronger Me

Natasha Wade   May 16, 2017 10:50 AM

Players Kyle Hartigan and David Mackay helped run the first Stronger Me program for Canteen

Players Kyle Hartigan and David Mackay helped run the first Stronger Me program for Canteen

CanTeen and the Adelaide Crows Children’s Foundation have launched a new life skills program designed for young people who have had their lives affected by cancer.

Stronger Me is a six week series with funding and player engagement from the Crows Children’s Foundation, incorporating fun and skill development to help people aged 12-18 lead a healthier and fulfilling life.

Taking part are 20 CanTeen members who had or have a parent or sibling with cancer or who have been affected by their own diagnosis.

The young adults will spend time with industry professionals including Crows players, fitness trainers, development staff and dieticians who will focus on topics including cooking, nutrition, fitness and emotional wellbeing.

Crows Children’s Foundation Board Member and defender Kyle Hartigan and midfielder David Mackay were on hand to assist with the first session held at the Club on Monday.

CanTeen Programs Manager Rebecca Walker said the program is about giving young people that have been affected by cancer the chance to learn the things they may have missed out on.

“When cancer comes into a young person’s life it can become all consuming, the ability to maintain a typical school and social life becomes complicated as the focus shifts to supporting a parent or sibling that has been diagnosed with cancer or themselves. Life becomes a rollercoaster ride of hospitals, doctors and specialists rather than school, sport, casual work and socialising with friends,” she said.

“As a result, these young people that are battling cancer fall behind their peers in learning the skills required to transition to adulthood such as cooking, keeping themselves healthy physically and emotionally, securing work and becoming a valuable employee.

“Stronger Me will help these young people catch up and take charge of their own future.”

Stronger Me participant, 13 year-old Jake Hudson, is looking forward to learning how to make better lifestyle choices.

Jake, who is also a member of CanTeen’s youth leadership, is dealing with the implications of having both his mother and father diagnosed with cancer in 2015.

Jake’s mum Michelle has endured almost two years of fighting breast cancer and his father has chronic myeloid leukaemia. Michelle explains that CanTeen has been the glue that has held her family together.

“Without CanTeen we would have struggled. Children that have a parent with cancer, or both parents in Jake’s case, don’t get to do what kids should be doing, it’s an everyday battle,” she said.

Jake says that since he and his sister, 12 year-old Ella, joined CanTeen they have gone on many camps and recreation days where they have been able to have fun and meet people going through a similar experience.

CanTeen hopes Stronger Me will continue to expand and become an annual offering to support families like Jake’s.

The Crows Children’s Foundation raises and distributes funding to children in need across Australia – and occasionally internationally – by boosting health, education and welfare programs.