Although increasing numbers of children and teens are being diagnosed with cancer at a young age, there is more need than ever for support groups and programs to help them deal with their illness. That's why New York high school student Kaely Kwitek, who is currently battling cancer, created an organization to help her peers, Kaely's Kindness Foundation.
The 17-year-old was diagnosed with cancer last October and is now going through chemotherapy, WGRZ News reports.
"I was like in denial. I didn't want to believe it. I mean no on wants to believe they have cancer," Kaely tells WGRZ News of her diagnosis. "I tried to stay strong, but when the doctor walked out of the room, I just thought of everything... losing my hair, how do I tell people, how's my life going to change?"
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Kaely found that talking with other teens about what she was going through helped her get through the challenges, and so she decided to do the same for others. She launched her own organization, Kaely's Kindess foundation, to help young people talk with each other through their struggles withe cancer.
Kaely's foundation is a source of connection for the thousands of young people suffering from cancer. Each year, 72,000 adolescents and young adults aged 15-39 are diagnosed with cancer. And according to the I'm Too Young For This! Foundation, social isolation is the number-one issue faced by young adults with cancer.
Earlier this month, another organization for teens with cancer, the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation -- a non-profit in New Jersey dedicated to providing encouragement to young people with life-threatening illnesses -- celebrated its 10th anniversary, having aided over 70,000 teens.