Oracle Cancer Trust has partnered up with peer-to-peer support group the Young Tongues to set up the Young Tongues Fund; funding patient support activities led by the Young Tongues, awareness campaigns for Tongue cancer and much needed research that will provide more understanding of Tongue cancer in young patients, how best to treat them and where the greatest unmet needs are.
The Young Tongues are a peer-to-peer support group for Tongue cancer patients and survivors aged 18 – 64. They are a grassroots community that was set up by founder Barbara Fountain, who in 2019 was diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Tongue. Following a partial glossectomy with forearm free flap and neck dissection she struggled with the impact the diagnosis had on her mental health. The lack of opportunity to connect with individuals of similar age inspired her to set up the Young Tongues in 2021 a global peer-to-peer support group for Tongue cancer patients and survivors aged 18-64. They now support over 350 patients, hold regular virtual and in person meet ups and have a podcast titled “The Young Tongues”. You may also recognise Barbara, as she is a member of our team here at Oracle.
Barbara explains why there was a need for the Young Tongues Fund: “When creating the Young Tongues, I didn’t’ realise how much of a need there was. Two years on and we have over 350 members without doing any large-scale advertising or relationships with health care providers. It made sense to apply to register as a charity and professionalise our services to ensure we have the appropriate safeguarding and organisation in place. As I’ve spent more time within the professional Head and Neck Cancer community, I’ve come to realise that Head and Neck Cancer research is chronically underfunded. So, it didn’t take much to conclude that as a minority patient population, research into Tongue cancer affecting young people wasn’t going to be a top priority. That’s when I realised to create change beyond the support service we offer, we need to look at how we can fund research ourselves. But there was a hitch! I wanted to ensure that the Young Tongues remain administratively small, so we weren’t bogged down by the kind of admin big charities have to contend with, especially as we are a tiny team of volunteers leading this project. It made total sense to partner up with a larger charity who had all the infrastructure in place and expertise when it came to funding research projects. Approaching Oracle was a total no brainer!”
Gemma McKnight, Head of Fundraising and Communications, added: “I’m delighted that we have been able to work with Barbara and her Young Tongues trustees to launch the fund. This fund will benefit survivors, current and future patients of Tongue cancer and the Head and Neck Cancer community more widely.”
If you want to support the Young Tongues Fund click here.
To find out more about the Young Tongues click here.
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Oracle Cancer Trust is a registered charity in England and Wales (1142037). A company limited by guarantee. Registered company in England and Wales (7125497). Registered address: 80 Coombe Road, New Malden KT3 4QS