Thursday 9th July 2020

 

Teenage Cancer Trust Award Winner Julie Gonzalez

Julie enjoys the meaningful, face-to-face support she provides and feels privileged to advocate for young people and their family. She also enjoys the growth she witnesses following Teenage Cancer Trust events like Find Your Sense of Tumour. The growth in self-confidence, the fact young people walk taller and leave feeling comfortable talking to their peers, not to mention the life-long friendships forged.

Julie has been privileged to support many young people and their families through extremely difficult and emotive times, but since Coronavirus swept the country, how you support those on palliative care has changed significantly. Julie says "you can’t show empathy when you have a mask on so face-to-face support it tough but with the digitalisation of much of the youth support service, you have a private space where you can listen and be there for families – you have more time to be there for them even if you can offer a comfortable silence."

Building the trust of one young person over the course of 18 months particularly stands out for Julie. She was able to be their advocate and share their wishes at a very sensitive time. This young person very sadly passed away but Julie felt honoured to speak at his celebration of life and felt validation from his parents who say she made a difference.

On the award nomination, Julie initially felt a little embarrassed, saying she feels like she is just doing her job but feels proud to be recognised.

Julie said: "When I found out I had been nominated I was initially quite embarrassed. We take praise really badly as human beings. I’m just doing my job and doing no more than any other YSC. But then to see some of the feedback I have received from parents and then the nomination from my line manager, it’s a lovely feeling. It’s lovely they took the time to share that feedback and to be recognised – it has created a really nice moment at a time of great uncertainty."