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CanTeen cards share inspiration with the nation

27 March 2014

CanTeen cards share inspiration with the nation

CanTeen is asking the nation to share its inspiration with a new range of 2014 greeting cards.

The cards, which are on sale now, depict the inspirations of a special group of CanTeen members, featuring themes of love, family and a brighter future.

CanTeen National Marketing Manager Debbie Thomson says the internal strength that inspiring messages generate can be truly life changing for CanTeen members.

“Our members gain inspiration and hope from hearing the common experiences that they share with each other, and often talk about the effect being positive has on their ability to stay strong and face their cancer journey head on.”

“This year we have asked our artists to share what inspires them – their experiences, memories and stories – and are asking the rest of New Zealand to take part by spreading their inspiration through the cards,” she says.

Six young artists, ranging in age from 15 to 23 years old, have come together to create a set of greeting cards sharing their experiences with cancer and their own unique representation of inspiration.

The artists are: Patient Members Brianna Haswell (15 from Napier), Claudia Sammut (15 from Auckland) and Nicola Samson (17 from Auckland); Bereaved Sibling Members Caitlin Kilpin (19 from Palmerston North) and Kate Warner (23 from New Plymouth), and Sibling Member Lachie Huddleston (17 from Hastings).

Ms Thomson says the cards are a great opportunity for New Zealanders to share their own messages of love and support for one another.

“We hope that through these cards New Zealanders are able to show and share those positive things that often go unsaid by sending a message of inspiration, love and support.”

CanTeen is a national peer support organisation for young people aged 13 to 24 living with cancer as a patient, sibling or bereaved sibling. Members are able to share their experiences with other young people who know what it is like to deal with cancer.

CanTeen greeting cards come in packs of six for $16, with the money going to CanTeen in its continued support for young people living with cancer. Cards are available by calling 0800 22 34 34 or online at

For more information on CanTeen please visit

About CanTeen’s greeting card designs, in the words of the artists:

Caitlin Kilpin, Bereaved Sibling Member, Palmerston North
On New Year’s Eve 2003, my older brother Alexander was diagnosed with T-cell Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After years of chemotherapy, Alexander entered remission but in 2009 the cancer returned and he passed away aged just 18 years old.

I joined CanTeen when I turned 13 and loved the positivity and vibrancy of the whole organisation. The people at CanTeen have been there for me through the darkest times of my life and also the happiest. I don’t know where I would be without them.

The inspiration for my design is flowers – they represent a beautiful life by filling people with so much joy.

Kate Warner, Bereaved Sibling Member, New Plymouth
When I was 19, my twin brother Matthew was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. At that time I learnt to appreciate the small things and to get out there and make the most of life. One year later, Matthew sadly passed away.

The team at CanTeen have provided me with a place where I can be around other people who have ‘been there, done that’. At CanTeen I know I am never alone – that there is always someone I can talk to.

The inspiration behind my design is celebrating with family at special times of the year, which is a fond memory for me.

Brianna Haswell, Patient Member, Napier
In 2004, at the age of five, I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. I underwent two years of chemotherapy treatment and now I’m all clear. At the time, I didn’t fully understand what was going on but looking back now I see that my experience has given me a better understanding of life.

CanTeen is a place where I can relate to people without being judged because of what I’ve been through. The team at CanTeen and the other members empower me with confidence and the skills to take advantage of every opportunity in life.

The inspiration for my design is the paper plane because to me it symbolises freedom and the hope of achieving your goals.

Claudia Sammut, Patient Member, Auckland
When I was five years old, I was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour. My tumour had been stable for nearly eight years after treatment but unfortunately on the day of my 15th birthday, I was told it had come back.

CanTeen has been an amazing support for me and my twin sister Courtney. The team at CanTeen have helped us at every stage of our journey and know us so well. It’s great to meet other young people who get what we’re going through – being part of CanTeen means we never feel alone.

The inspiration for my design is that my mum and I love and collect hearts, and the daisy chain garland symbolises the bond between my mum, my sister and me.

Lachie Huddleston, Sibling Member, Hastings
My older sister Abi was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that develops from nerve cells, before I was born. Thankfully, she’s still with us today. Since joining CanTeen, I have learnt about many different cancer journeys and experiences from my peers that I have met over the years. These have all helped me to better understand what it was like for my sister and parents during that time.

I feel very fortunate to be a part of this amazing organisation. I have made lifelong friends and I enjoy being involved with the unique support network that only CanTeen provides.

The inspiration for my design is CanTeen. CanTeen lifted me up and gave me the opportunities to go far and make something of my life.

Nicola Samson, Patient Member, Auckland
I was diagnosed at the age of 13 with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I spent quite a lot of time in the hospital, sometimes a month at a time. I am now cancer free and enjoying my love of art which blossomed during the months I spent in hospital.

CanTeen was a wonderful support for me, especially in the early stages, as I could talk with people who understood what I was going through. The activities CanTeen organised for me while I was in hospital really helped me to cope with my treatment.

The inspiration for my design is the beach - I love the beach and have always collected shells. They hold happy memories for me.


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