This month, we’re working to raise awareness for young women battling illness alone, and we need your help.
Within Australia, it is estimated that almost 75,000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed each year in women alone.
We’re teaming up with Cancer Chicks, a community hub for young women navigating cancer and other terminal or chronic illnesses, offering support, understanding and empowerment. We’re hoping to bring a voice to young women, open the conversation and help those where it matters most.
We sat down with Rikki Stern, the founder of Cancer Chicks, to hear about her journey and the impactful work she is doing for girls in need.
Q. First things first, tell us a little bit about yourself!
Hi! I’m Rikki and I'm a 25-year-old Sydney sider. I also started a community called Cancer Chicks after being diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, blood cancer. I work in media and am an avid lover of movies and coffee dates with my fiancé and dog Frankie.
Q. What inspired you to start Cancer Chicks?
Whilst in the midst of chemotherapy I found there was little to no support for young people and no one to talk to who understood what I was going through. Hospitals and charities couldn’t put me in touch with anyone due to confidentiality, so I decided to create a Facebook group. What started as a small group, has now grown to 1000+ young women across Australia dealing with the struggles of chronic and terminal illness. My incredible family friend and long time support, Michele Molnar, came on board to co-found Cancer Chicks and with the help of an incredible board of women professionals, we became a registered charity. We host retreats nationally, education events, support services and deliver care packages to them. The goal of Cancer Chicks is to make the lives of these sick women a little brighter.
Q. How did you feel when you were first diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma?
I remember thinking, “I was the kid forced to swim with a rashie! I never smoked, rarely drank and felt like a normal, healthy young person.” There’s nothing that can prepare you for that kind of news and at 20, I was shocked, petrified and completely out of my depths.
Q. What does a weekend retreat usually look like for the Cancer Chick girls?
Our retreats are hosted in the most magnificent and tranquil locations. To the likes of protea farms in Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula and the Berrilee Waranara Ridge where they have hosted the bachelor. We have hosted make-up classes with MAC where the girls learn how to draw on eyebrows, styling sessions with celebrity stylist Elliot Garnaut, yoga, meditation, art therapy and countless self growth courses tailored to our communities needs and where they may be in treatment. Basically we feel like Oprah all weekend because we try to spoil the girls with as many gifts and luxury experiences as we can. The main objective of these weekends is to make sure the girls bond, have fun and forget about their reality, even if only for a little bit.
Q. What will the money raised from this campaign be used for?
The money from this campaign will help to launch our upcoming program for care coordinators. We have a team of amazing women who are trained by Cancer Council to help lighten the load for our community and provide individualised support. This could include; providing food resources to young mums, a weekly cleaner, travel support to treatments or even filling out the endless paperwork that goes into gaining government support. They will be like our fairy godmothers!
Q. What are your hopes for the future of Cancer Chicks?
I hope that Cancer Chicks becomes a household name, so that if ever any girl needs the support, they will know where to find it. I’d also love for Cancer Chicks to one day have a Community Hub situated near the hospital where they can go to make friends, enjoy events or get reprieve between appointments.
Purchase a Cancer Chicks x The Bali Tailor Cap and make your donation today.