Kilcoo’s Laurena supports young people

Kilcoo’s Laurena supports young people

8 September 2021

A KILCOO woman is supporting young people with the challenges of dealing with cancer through her work with a local charity. 

Laurena Kane is Friends of the Cancer Centre’s social worker for teenagers and young adults and works each day to provide vital support to young people affected by cancer. 

Based at the Cancer Centre in Belfast, Laurena works alongside young patients aged between 16 and 24 years old, as well as their families, carers and peers.

Laurena’s post, which is funded by local charity Friends of the Cancer Centre, is vital in helping to make what is a really difficult time that little bit easier for patients and their families. 

She ensures that the complex and specialist needs of the young people are provided for through social, financial and psychological support. 

As well as providing one-to-one support, Laurena also understands how vital peer support is to young people. 

Through her role she facilitates both a group for young people affected by blood disorders, and a wider programme of virtual events which brings together young people with similar experiences.

Laurena explained: “Approximately 70 teenagers and young adults are diagnosed with cancer in Northern Ireland each year and half of those young people will attend the Cancer Centre in Belfast for treatment. 

“I work with young people with cancer, supporting them and their family through diagnosis, treatment and beyond. Many of the young people that I support are in some of the most formative years of their lives. Coping with an often complex cancer diagnosis, as well as their stage of life can be really difficult. 

“It is a privilege, along with the other members of the teenage and young adult team, to help them through this time. Every single day, I continue to be inspired by young people and how they manage to gracefully navigate their way through an illness such as cancer, and the debilitating side effects of treatment.”

She added that the charity supports her and her colleagues to do the vital support work.

Colleen Shaw, chief executive of Friends of the Cancer Centre, praised Laurena’s work as making “an incredible difference to so many young people and their families in Northern Ireland”.

She added: “The past year has been incredibly difficult for the charity, but we have worked hard to ensure we can be here for patients in these most challenging times.

“A real highlight of the past year has been our commencement of funding for Laurena’s post, which, just like the other posts funded by the charity, would simply not be possible without the generosity of local people. We would like to say a really big thank you to all those who support the charity as this support is making posts like Laurena’s a reality.”

Friends of the Cancer Centre relies entirely on the generosity of the local community and all money donated stays in Northern Ireland, directly benefitting patients and their families.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month so find out more about Laurena’s role and the work of Friends of the Cancer Centre at