MONEYME partners with Canteen to help young cancer survivors get back into the work force
As part of a growing focus on ESG and commitment to having a positive impact on society, digital lender MONEYME (ASX: MME) has partnered with Australia's leading youth cancer charity Canteen to help young cancer patients stay connected to their education dreams and career aspirations.
Canteen's Education and Career Support Service (ECS) program helps cancer patients aged between 15 and 25 stay connected to study and work both during and after their cancer treatment, through individualised support plans designed to help young cancer survivors identify and achieve their education and career milestones.
It aims to address Canteen research findings that reveal that less than half of the 1,000 young Australians diagnosed with cancer each year have high confidence of achieving their education goals, and under one third have high confidence of achieving their employment goals.
Almost two thirds (65 percent) also said they changed their study goals after their diagnosis and, of these, 86 percent narrowed their goals because of the way physical, cognitive, and emotional aspects of cancer can change the trajectory for the rest of their life.
When MONEYME pledged over $200,000 during 2022 towards the ECS, the program was able to increase the number of cancer patients receiving this vital service by 35 percent in a matter of months, from 200 to 272, allowing these patients to collectively access a total of 1,025 individual support sessions.
Canteen youth ambassador, Josh Bell, is one such individual benefiting from the support provided by the ECS. Josh is 20 years old now, but was diagnosed with cancer at just 18 months old. The ensuing therapy and surgery left Josh susceptible to a large number of illnesses throughout his childhood, right when he should have been enjoying his schooling.
According to Josh: "There's a rule book that says if you do your studies and go to the right school, you'll meet the right people, you'll go to the right places, and then eventually you'll get the right job. But if you're not at school because of cancer, there's not really a rule book for that. At that point I needed someone to rewrite the rules, and that's where Canteen came in.
"I have a lot of passion but without the educational background, I didn't know if I'd get a job. But I got linked up with a really cool careers adviser through Canteen, and I could ask him how to write a resume or cover letter or just ask advice whenever, which was a really big thing. Canteen made sure I had people in my corner.
"In the eyes of my teachers I was the poster boy of absenteeism and punished as a truant a little. But when your life is in crisis you really need a foundation that will be unaffected as everything else is crashing down around you. Canteen really was that pillar for me."
Triple cancer survivor, Lena Mishra, is another Canteen youth ambassador wished she'd had the support of the ECS as she battled brain cancer, thyroid cancer, and skin cancer all before the age of 24 years old - and urges young cancer patients to take advantage of the program now.
According to Lena: "I was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of 7, and struggled to understand what was happening through the next two years of radiation and chemotherapy. But when I discovered Canteen, I realised I had found an organisation full of love, support, and pure understanding of the journey I was on. When I was again diagnosed with thyroid cancer at age 21, then again with skin cancer at age 23, Canteen was there to support me.
"I can tell you first hand as someone that's been in and out of hospital most of my life - school always gets disrupted. This ECS program will be a huge help to so many young people so they can continue to study and get the help they need to further their education."
MONEYME's Talent Acquisition & Culture Manager, Marc Hess, joined the ECS Steering Group earlier this year to help guide the service in providing appropriate recruitment opportunities for young cancer survivors.
MONEYME has also completed other initiatives with Canteen this year, including donation matching for both Canteen's National Bandana Day and Dry July campaigns, and employee fundraising through the City2Surf which raised over $8,000 from employees alone and a total of over $20,000 with corporate matching and contributions included.
Working with Canteen for the past year had created awareness around the need to help young Australians to not just survive but thrive after a cancer diagnosis, said MONEYME CEO, Clayton Howes.
Clayton Howes, CEO of MONEYME, said: "It's impossible not to be affected by the bravery of the many young cancer survivors we learn about and meet through our partnership with Canteen.
"I've met so many passionate and ambitious young Australians throughout my career, and it's devastating to think that a diagnosis could stop them from pursuing their aspirations. Canteen's Education and Career Support Service helps life go on for cancer survivors, even in the face of significant disruptions to education and careers. It's incredibly important work and we couldn't think of a more worthy cause for MONEYME to support."
Peter Orchard, CEO of Canteen, said: "Canteen's mission is to be in a young person's corner when cancer crashes into their world. After just six months of support from Canteen, almost two-thirds of young people impacted by cancer report improvements in their mental health and overall wellbeing.
"Young cancer patients are often stuck in hospital having treatment while their friends are graduating and embarking on their careers. Thanks to MONEYME's support, Canteen's Education and Career Support Service can help young people with cancer get their education and career goals back on track."