All about Shine

Shine is the only UK charity that exists exclusively to support adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s who have experienced a cancer diagnosis.

There is never a good time to have cancer, but we know that younger adults face different issues than their older or younger counterparts - and that many of these are not dealt with by traditional cancer support charities and services.

  • Our vision is that every adult in the UK living with cancer in their 20s, 30s or 40s can access the help and support that they need in a way that suits their lifestyle, and that they are a part of a confident, supportive and empowered community of young adults living with cancer.
  • Our mission is to provide tailored information and peer support for anyone in their 20s, 30s or 40s diagnosed with any cancer. We do this through a range of activities including lunches and drinks evenings, beach walks, multi-day getaways, workshops, online networking, and mentoring.

Our history

Shine started in Dorset in 2008 as a non-traditional support group for young adults. Emma and Justine were both diagnosed with cancer at a young age and had a hard time finding others that could relate to the issues they were facing. Once they started talking, they realised there was a huge lack of support for younger adults with cancer and the idea for Shine was born. Within the first year, they had connected with over 100 young adults living with cancer in Dorset confirming what they had thought about the lack of tailored support available.

In 2010, Emma met Ceinwen.  Together, they launched Shine in London and began working on making Shine a national organisation. Working together on the UK’s first research into the unmet needs of young adults diagnosed with cancer (Small c Project) Ceinwen and Emma then worked on developing events and activities that would support the gaps identified in the research. Shine was registered as a charity in 2012, and has since supported thousands of young adults with cancer across the UK. 

Instrumental to Shine’s growth were Lesley and Soraya. They met in a breast cancer clinic in 2011 and became Trustees of Shine in 2013.  Together they also started Shine North East, one of our largest and strongest Networks and raised thousands for Shine’s work.  Soraya was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in 2010 and kept the disease at bay for five years while working hard to promote Shine and make sure that people in the North East got the support she felt they deserved. Soraya sadly passed away in November 2015 but remains a huge influence on our work. Lesley stepped down as a Trustee in 2016 but remains closely involved with our work in the North East. 

Shine now has local Shine Networks across the UK and runs a number of annual events including Shine Camp (a summer camping trip), the Great Escape, and Shine Connect, a conference for young adults with cancer, their friends and family, and healthcare professionals. Shine also runs a number of highly rated and tailored workshops on topics such as working after cancer and managing anxiety and depression. As a patient-led organisation, Shine works hard to ensure that young adults with cancer play a key role in the design and delivery of every one of our activities.

Shine is supported by a Board of Trustees as well as a patron, Oliver Spencer, and a number of corporate supporters including Travel Insurance Facilities.