Young Australians Cancer Initiative
You’re Never Too Young
In November 2021, I was invited to participate in a YACI symposium with Year 10 High School students with the aim of broadening their knowledge of cancer diagnosis and treatment and encouraging them to take up an education pathway that would lead to a career in cancer research and/or care. In 2021, the focus was on breast cancer.
The Young Australians’ Cancer Initiative (YACI) is an ACNC-registered non-profit organisation with a mission to teach and inspire young Australians about cancer. YACI was founded in 2015 by 7 undergraduate students at the University of Melbourne. Since then, over 1000 high school and 500 university students have participated in this initiative. I participated in a similar symposium in 2019 (see Newsletter 75, October 2019).
During the 2021 New South Wales Symposium, which was run virtually, the students heard from a variety of researchers and medical practitioners as well as patients and survivors, of which I was one. After the Symposium, students were asked to write an essay on the topic, “What do you think is the most important aspect of cancer research and/or patient care?” and I offered to read and comment on the essays.
There were 17 essays and all were of a high standard. The outstanding one was submitted by Geoffrey Yang, a Year 10 student from James Ruse Agricultural High School who wrote about post-cancer care and the importance of the holistic approach to health for both patients and families. His reward was three days work experience at the RPAH Anatomical Pathology which he completed in late February.
I was so impressed by his essay and his attitude that I interviewed him about his experience and his responses are included in this Newsletter.
Any opportunities to learn about cancer and all its effects, especially for young people looking to choose a career, are highly desirable and I congratulate the team at YACI of this initiative.