Tanya Allan: Bravery Box: Westfield Local Heroes 2019
Mum uses daughter's cancer bravery to help others
Supportive. Dedicated. Enthusiastic
Bravery is more than a word for Tanya Allan; it’s something she sees every day in kids fighting cancer.
Tanya is the founder of Bravery Box, a support program that helps children and teens find their inner strength in the toughest of circumstances.
She started Bravery Box as a way of supporting her daughter Lara when she was receiving treatment for leukaemia. Tanya and her husband found that she would respond positively when they celebrated her choice to be brave.
“Lara began to look forward to hospital visits,” says Tanya. “She focused on the connection, celebration and her friendships with the nursing staff.”
Two years on, the charity has provided hundreds of young people with support, encouragement and donated rewards as they deal with the constant challenges of their condition.
“We wanted to be able to arm all children with this kind of resilience,” says Tanya, who has found being voted a Westfield Local Hero an incredibly emotional journey.
Lara underwent 800 days of chemotherapy, and Tanya says she benefited immensely from having her bravery encouraged and celebrated during her hospital stays.
Other families have found it useful as well, with parents reporting that children have begun to look forward to their hospital visits and see past the pain they are experiencing.
“Recently, I heard from the mother of a girl with a rare cancer that requires quite a long and painful treatment.
“She received our new series of teen books at a recent hospital visit, and they quickly helped distract her from her pain, so she almost skipped out, excited to get home and begin reading.”
Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation.
Bravery Box will use its grant to buy gifts such as T-shirts, journals and bravery gym packs to help kids strengthen their “bravery muscles”.
“Just being nominated was extraordinary, and we have benefited from the exposure as well as the financial help,” says Tanya.
For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here.