Former Oamaru man Regan King knows first hand the impact cancer can have on a family and he is now committed to making life easier for those affected by the illness.
Mr King was recently appointed national vice-president of Canteen, an organisation that supports
those between the age of 13 and 24 with cancer.
He had his first experience of cancer at the age of 9 when his younger brother, Cody, died as a result of a brain tumour, and he has been involved with Canteen since the age of 13.
Mr King, who grew up in Oamaru, has been involved with the Otago-Southland branch of Canteen as well as
the Canterbury-West Coast branch, where he was a committee member.
He now wants to give back as much as he can to the organisation that has given him and his family so much.
‘‘It’s given me a lot of opportunities to meet other people that have gone through similar experiences,’’ he said.
Mr King’s job involves working closely with others within Canteen, including the chief executive and president, to develop the organisation’s strategy to ensure its reach extends as far as possible.
He said the most demanding part of his role was making sure no young person with cancer went unnoticed.
‘‘I guess the most challenging thing is to make sure no-one aged 13 to 24 goes unsupported in New Zealand in terms of their cancer and that support is readily available to those people when they really need it.’’
Mr King believes there is more awareness around the illness today, which he is determined to see continue.
‘‘I think people have become more aware. We have definitely been working hard to put it out there and give young people the support they need.’’
Canteen offers several support programmes for young cancer patients, as well as leadership programmes for members, and holds fundraisers such as Bandana Day.