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  • Lola
  • 28th Jul. 2020

He was the best older brother you could imagine

Cancer has had a massive impact on Lola’s life. She was just 2 years old when her older brother Henry was first diagnosed with cancer and 4 years old when he passed away.

“My brother died of a rare form of cancer more than 1o years ago. I was 4 years old at the time. Some of my earliest memories are visiting hospitals and trying to spend as much time with him as possible. One important memory for me is that no matter how sick he got; he was always the same happy, fun-loving person. He was the best older brother you could imagine.”

For Lola, she can’t remember a time when cancer didn’t affect her life, it continued long after the diagnosis of cancer hit her family.

“Cancer impacted my life a lot, I lost my brother. He died just less than a week before my fifth birthday, so my parents pushed my schooling back a few months. Henry passed away on my dad’s birthday and ever since then, his birthday has been a really hard day for all of us. One thing that stayed the same is the love and support of my family. My parents, sister, and I really stuck together through all of it.”

“Cancer impacted my life a lot, I lost my brother."

CanTeen supports rangatahi aged 13-24 across Aotearoa experiencing cancer, whether it’s their own diagnosis or that of a family member, and those dealing with the loss of a loved one (sibling or parent).

“CanTeen has been so amazing for me and both my siblings. It’s supported me and provided really useful services. The camps and activities are so much fun, and the people are the most carefree and kind I’ve ever met. I love the laughter we share and the ability to just be ourselves around each other.”

Pictured: Lola (second left) with friends at CanTeen’s annual Leadership Camp.

Lola also joined CanTeens’ leadership programme, to support other rangatahi dealing with cancer in their whānau. The leadership programme has given her the opportunity to develop key skills, learn more about her leadership style, and support her peers.