By Andy Hirst

One of Huddersfield’s best known charities is radically changing its name as it aims to become more national and also help improve young cancer patients’ mental health.

The Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust has become Project Youth Cancer as it positions itself as a leading support organisation for young people with cancer in the UK.

It has also launched a new counselling service across the region to help improve mental wellbeing in young cancer patients with the change announced the day before World Cancer Day tomorrow (Sat, Feb 4).

The new mental health service is now being made available to young people with cancer throughout Yorkshire and Greater Manchester after the charity received a generous donation from Leeds Building Society.

Since it was established in 1996 the charity has helped increase awareness around how cancers are different for teenagers and young adults and the lack of relevant research in this age group. Over the years it’s invested hundreds of thousands of pounds to fund specific research projects to help forge better diagnosis and treatment.

The charity also supports 47 specialist hospitals throughout the UK that treat teenage cancer, providing support such as technology to improve time spent on hospital wards and donates 500 Christmas presents to young people spending Christmas in hospital every year.

Charity ambassador Sarah Dransfield

Cancer is the most common form of non-accidental death in teenagers and young adults in the UK. Seven young people aged between 13 and 24 are diagnosed with cancer in the UK every day.

Project Youth Cancer chief executive Pam Thornes said: “We had already shifted our focus to include mental wellbeing a couple of years ago so it felt like a logical step to completely reassess how we supported our patients and see if we could help fill the void that existed in mental health support.”

Charity ambassador Sarah Dransfield went through treatment for cancer at the age of 16 and is passionate about supporting other young people.

“It’s vital that young people with cancer are given the support they need when they need it,” she said. “We don’t want them being added to a waiting list, we want to deliver the counselling quickly at the point of need and that’s where Project Youth Cancer will come in. Often patients need this extra support after treatment is finished and ‘normal’ life returns. Project Youth Cancer will be there for them at this time.”

It’s needed because of long waiting times for mental health services for children and young people. Across Yorkshire, half of patients with a referral were still waiting for contact 12 weeks later or had received just one contact. Project Youth Cancer aims to match a young person with a counsellor within a couple of weeks.

The Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust was set up 25 years ago after Laura, a 17-year-old student at Greenhead College, died from cancer.

Her mum, the late Jacquie Roeder, set out to make a difference to young people living with cancer in memory of her fearless daughter so set up the charity in her name.

To mark the rebrand, the charity will be showcasing a film featuring students from Greenhead College to raise awareness of the name change. The film can be viewed across Project Youth Cancer social media pages.

The charity has been rebranded by Huddersfield brand strategy experts Frank & Alex with the website made by Liversedge-based digital company Forty4Three. Both support the charity and gave their time free.

Project Youth Cancer has a new website which is

  • Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.