Dare to dream: supporting young Australians affected by cancer

Eight young Australians affected by cancer are one step closer to their dreams after receiving Dare to Dream scholarships from national children’s cancer charity Redkite and Coles. 

A family of four sitting in a hospital

Thomas Lowe recovering in hospital with his family.

Since 2013 the Redkite Dare to Dream scholarships funded by Coles have supported nearly 300 young Australians whose cancer diagnosis has put their life on hold.

The scholarships of up to $5,000 can be put towards education, career or life goals that have been disrupted due to the impact cancer has on a child’s physical and mental wellbeing. 

Among this year’s recipients is 17-year old national winner Thomas Lowe from Voyager Point, NSW who was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in January 2020. 

A teenager in a hospital bed

Thomas, whose dream is to be a firefighter, said the $5,000 scholarship will help him complete the physical and emotional prerequisites he needs to join Fire and Rescue NSW.

“This scholarship will help me gain the strength and endurance that I have lost due to chemotherapy. The gym membership will also improve my happiness,” he said.

“Throughout my nine months of treatment, I’ve had very little energy and I’ve been in a lot of pain. I’ve had to isolate, not only because of COVID-19, but mainly due to my low blood counts. Cancer has also caused me to lose a lot of my strength and endurance, which are both needed to become a member of Fire and Rescue NSW.”

A dad holding his son

Thomas Lowe with his late father David.

His dream of becoming a firefighter comes after his father, David Lowe, served as a volunteer firefighter for the NSW Rural Fire Service. He passed away from lymphoma in May 2012 when Thomas was just nine years old.

Coles Corporate Affairs General Manager Sally Fielke said Dare to Dream scholarships provided children who have faced cancer an opportunity to follow their dreams.

“We’re very proud of our long-standing partnership with Redkite and how we’ve helped to support young people in cities and towns across Australia living with cancer,” she said.

“We know how important wellness and mental wellbeing is for children seeking to achieve their goals and these scholarships help to support young cancer patients at what is an incredibly difficult period in their lives.”

Other 2021 scholarship recipients include 13-year-old Charlie Sweet from Kew, Victoria, whose dream is to become a professional basketballer, aspiring teenage pianist Joshua Knox from Pymble, NSW and Gold Coast resident Miranda who is studying to be a nurse and art therapist.

In addition to funding the Dare to Dream scholarships, Coles and its customers has raised more than $39 million for Redkite to support children and families affected by cancer.