A scholarship program ‘Dare to Dream’ will offer young people hope beyond their cancer diagnosis. The program is designed to help young people whose mental and physical wellbeing has been impacted by cancer, with funding to achieve their goals and ambitions.

Since 2013, the Redkite and Coles Dare to Dream Scholarship has awarded 375 scholarships, and distributed over $750,000 for dreams which include further education, flying lessons, prerequisites to join Fire and Rescue, and even a new piano.

The 2022 winner Mitchell was awarded $5,000.  Mitchell lives with autism, and received his cancer diagnosis at 11 years old. He is now out of treatment and has recently celebrated his 18th birthday. An avid fan of flying, Mitchell has dreamed for many years of completing a pilot’s course, and now with support from Coles, this dream has just become Mitchell’s reality.

 “Receiving this scholarship will allow me to complete the Recreational Pilot’s Certificate at Archerfield, something I have always wanted to achieve, but it never seemed possible.  In completing this course, I will be closer to my ultimate goal of becoming a commercial pilot,”  Mitchell said.

In 2022, funds were provided to 130 recipients through the scholarship program. Over the last 10 years, so many young people have benefited, with funding giving those experiencing childhood cancer a chance to build their future.

Western Australian Teah Standford received her cancer diagnosis when she was two years old, and has struggled with the stereotype of ‘cancer kid’ ever since. “It really sucked because all the side effects from having cancer reminded me every day that I had cancer – I was still ‘The Cancer Kid’. I got over it and I’m now finally on the road to doing something that I love,” Teah said.

Teah has alway been keen on pet photography, and through winning the 2020 Dare to Dream Scholarship, she was able to enrol in a TAFE photography course to launch her career.

Coles has been involved in the scholarship since its inception, reinvesting in the future of young Australians living with cancer.

Coles Group General Manager Corporate & Indigenous Affairs Sally Fielke said the Dare to Dream Scholarship program is one of the many ways that Coles together with Redkite are supporting children and families affected by childhood cancer.

"Coles is extremely proud to support the Dare to Dream Scholarship program and to give young Aussies affected by cancer a chance to pursue their dreams. All of the Coles Team Members who were lucky enough to be on the judging panels, including myself, were incredibly touched by the stories of these remarkable young people.  We know that everyone’s dream is different, and we hope these scholarships will support each individual at their stage of life to achieve their dream,” Ms Fielke said.

Redkite is a not-for-profit organisation, which in addition to delivering the Dare to Dream program, offers support to families living with a cancer diagnosis, in whichever form that support takes.  Whether that is financial, emotional, or the provision of practical information and connection with resources.

Redkite Chief Executive Officer Monique Keighery said the organisation appreciated Coles’ support of the Dare to Dream Scholarship over so many years, helping hundreds of families and their children living with a cancer diagnosis.

“Coles team members and their customers have been instrumental in making the Dare to Dream scholarship program a success story over so many years.  So many young people contract cancer, journey through treatment and go on to live a happy, fulfilling life.  This scholarship program provides a much-needed boost, when those living with cancer may have missed school, were forced to opt out of much-loved hobbies or even delayed a sought-after dream. 

“When one experiences such an untimely disruption to their childhood, the scholarship allows them to revisit their dreams. Some dreams are simple, some are ambitious - but all are relevant, and worthy of pursuit,”  Ms Keighery said.

To find out more about how you can help Redkite, or to apply for the 2023 Dare to Dream scholarship program, visit www.redkite.org.au

hoto: Christopher Campbell/Unsplash

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