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Jacob and his Mum

Jacob's cancer journey

I was 12 years old when my parents sat me and my brothers down after school. Mum said something like, “I’ve been to the doctor and they think I have cancer. We’re not sure what’s going to happen, but I start treatment right away.”

We lived in Tasmania and Mum had to fly to Melbourne for treatment. Dad tried to go with her as much as he could, and we flew to visit her sometimes too. When we stayed home for school, our nan and pop would look after us. It was a really hectic and intense time.

I remember feeling distraught. Not knowing what was going to happen was hard. And as you might imagine, as a 12-year-old boy, I didn’t really know how to process those feelings.

You can imagine how devastated I felt when Mum passed.

It was June 2, seven days before her 39th birthday. She’d been in a coma for several weeks and we had to make the incredibly hard decision to let her go. I still remember the nurses standing outside the door, crying with us as we turned off the life support and said our final goodbyes.

But Canteen helped me through it all.

I particularly remember this one program called Good Grief. I got a message not long after my mum passed with an opportunity to attend that program. As a shy and very sad 13-year-old, I didn’t want to go, but I thought Mum would have wanted me to, so I did.

I’m so glad I did. I met heaps of people and made amazing bonds with them. I learned so many skills and really enjoyed it all. I learned how to talk about and process my feelings of grief and sadness – and I learned that I wasn’t alone. I learned to cherish and value the memories of my mum and all that she taught me.

Watch Jacob's Story

At just 13 years old, Jacob lost his mum to cancer and his life was completely turned upside down.

While he was dealing with the devastation of losing a parent to cancer, he was also relentlessly bullied at school for not having a mum. He felt alone and lost in his grief.

Jacob wants to share his story to help other young people like him realise they are not alone in their cancer experience. Watch here. 

Will you help young people stand up to cancer?

Founded by a group of cancer patients in 1985, Canteen has been helping young Australians aged 12–25 stand up to cancer for over 30 years. Canteen supports young cancer patients, young people struggling with the grief of losing a loved one, or young people who have a sibling or parent with cancer. 

Please donate today and provide life-changing support to young Aussies impacted by cancer.