In 2016, our founder Elizabeth (Beth), was on maternity leave with four-month-old twins and was caring for her three-year-old. In her early 30s, she was excited about going back to work, where she had been promoted to a managerial position. A breast cancer diagnosis turned her world upside-down. "Before I knew it, major surgery had been booked that, unknown to me, was just the start of an epic breast cancer vendetta to come." Beth soon discovered a gap in support for younger women with cancer and started an online group that grew into the Young Women's Cancer Support Group – ACT & Surrounding Region (YWCSG).
Our group is made up of younger women who have survived, still fighting and/or have experience caring for a
direct family member/s with cancer. It gives these women a safe place to ask questions, vent, socialise and
support each other. Issues for younger women include family responsibilities, career, sexuality and self-esteem.
Members raise awareness about challenges, stand up to make a difference and help to ensure people are
We understand all the additional challenges on top of dealing with the pain and 'scanxiety' that goes with managing a cancer diagnosis at a younger age, in addition to the longer-term aftereffects and/or when remission begins and adjust to a new normal.
"If you're unable to be proactive, extremely vigilant and advocate your rights, things get missed and can fall through the cracks of the system – which I experienced personally on multiple occasions."
In 2020, Beth was nominated for the Westfield Local Heroes for Belconnen ACT and voted for by the community as one of the three
top finalists per Westfield centre each being awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation.
The YWCSG will use this grant and proceeds from fundraising to register as a non-profit, fund networking events, social activities and information sessions for its members. These will provide information about other services, support and activities that are available in the Canberra region, as well as social opportunities to build our network and friendship support.