Melbourne triple cancer survivor Lena receives charity backyard makeover

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Team MONEYME|05 December 2022| 5-minute read

Triple cancer survivor, Lena Mishra, has received a charity backyard makeover at her home in Balwyn, Victoria through Australia’s leading youth cancer charity Canteen as a result of a partnership between 7Two’s renovation show DVine Living and digital lender MONEYME (ASX: MME).

The program aired on Sunday 4th December on 7Two at 4pm, and saw Lena rolling up her sleeves and helping the crew transform an ugly corner of her backyard into a tranquil area for reading, relaxing, and socialising with friends and family.

This type of can-do spirit sums Lena up. At just 24 years old, Lena has already beaten brain cancer, thyroid cancer, and skin cancer but found fellowship and compassion when she discovered Canteen.

According to Lena: “I was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of 7, and struggled to understand what was happening through the next two years of radiation and chemotherapy. 

“I made the most of tough times by having fun with family and friends. But when I discovered Canteen at the age of 12, I realised I had found an organisation full of love, support, and pure understanding of the journey I was on. 

“When I was again diagnosed with thyroid cancer at age 21, Canteen was there to support me with counselling, fun events to help distract me, and even leadership programs. This was invaluable when I was diagnosed yet again, this time with skin cancer, at age 23. That same week I was also diagnosed with a chronic restrictive lung disease, which was pretty stressful as I was severely immunocompromised right in the middle of COVID-19.“

“I’m so excited and thankful for this amazing new outdoor space for my family, where we can enjoy quiet time and share moments of joy and peacefulness together. I love to spend time at home with my family and friends so I love that it is such a beautiful space. I’m so grateful for kind and caring organisations like Canteen, and for the generosity of MONEYME.”

To watch the full episode, go to https://7plus.com.au/dvine-living

Earlier this year, as part of a growing focus on Environmental, Social, And Governance (ESG) and MONEYME’s commitment to having a positive impact on society, MONEYME partnered with Canteen to help young cancer patients stay connected to their education dreams and career aspirations. 
MONEYME pledged over $200,000 during 2022 towards Canteen’s Education and Career Support Service (ECS), allowing it to relaunch in February 2022.

Since then, the ECS has helped hundreds of cancer patients aged between 15 and 25 stay connected to study and work both during and after their cancer treatment, through individualised support plans designed to help young cancer survivors identify and achieve their education and career milestones.

It aims to address Canteen’s research findings that revealed that less than half of the 1,000 young Australians diagnosed with cancer each year have high confidence of achieving their education goals, and under one third have high confidence of achieving their employment goals. 

Almost two thirds (65 percent) also said they changed their study goals after their diagnosis and, of these, 86 percent narrowed their goals because of the way physical, cognitive, and emotional aspects of cancer can change the trajectory for the rest of their life.
Lena is a massive supporter of the Education and Career Support Service; “I can tell you first hand as someone that’s been in and out of hospital most of my life – school always gets disrupted. This ECS program will be a huge help to so many young people so they can continue to study and get the help they need to further their education.”

MONEYME’s Talent Acquisition & Culture Manager, Marc Hess, joined the ECS Steering Group earlier this year to help guide the service in providing appropriate recruitment opportunities for young cancer survivors.  

MONEYME has also completed other initiatives with Canteen this year, including donation matching for both Canteen’s National Bandana Day and Dry July campaigns, and employee fundraising through the City2Surf which raised over $8,000 from employees alone and a total of over $20,000 with corporate matching and contributions included. 

Working with Canteen for the past year had created awareness around the need to help young Australians to not just survive but thrive after a cancer diagnosis, said MONEYME CEO, Clayton Howes.


Clayton Howes said: “It is impossible not to be affected by the bravery of the many young cancer survivors we learn about and meet through our partnership with Canteen. Lena’s story is full of setbacks, yet she has overcome them all. She’s an inspiration and it was great to be able to support her journey with this renovation project.  

“I’ve met so many passionate and ambitious young Australians throughout my career, and it’s devastating to think that a diagnosis could stop them from pursuing their aspirations. Canteen’s Education and Career Support Service helps life go on for cancer survivors, even in the face of significant disruptions to education and careers. It’s incredibly important work and we couldn’t think of a more worthy cause for MONEYME to support.” 


Peter Orchard, Canteen CEO, said: “Canteen’s mission is to be in a young person’s corner when cancer crashes into their world. After just six months of support from Canteen, almost two-thirds of young people impacted by cancer report improvements in their mental health and overall wellbeing.

“Young cancer patients are often stuck in hospital having treatment while their friends are graduating and embarking on their careers. Thanks to MONEYME’s support, Canteen’s Education and Career Support Service can help young people with cancer get their education and career goals back on track.”

Please donate any amount possible to support Canteen via our donation page here.

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