CanTeen Bandanna Day: Ballarat's Shelby Sherritt takes the lead

SMILES: Shelby Sherritt, centre, with CanTeen supporters, clockwise from front left, Gabriella Vella, Benji Killorn, Jessada Phuntuya, Grace Allen and Samantha O'Toole.

SMILES: Shelby Sherritt, centre, with CanTeen supporters, clockwise from front left, Gabriella Vella, Benji Killorn, Jessada Phuntuya, Grace Allen and Samantha O'Toole.

A Ballarat-born cancer survivor has taken the lead in a drive to raise money for other young people with the disease.

Shelby Sherritt was diagnosed with appendix and bowel cancer when she was 20.

Multiple surgeries were required to remove her appendix and 30cm of bowel.

It was then followed by 12 chemotherapy sessions in six months.

Miss Sherritt said young people diagnosed with cancer often had no idea what was ahead of them.

“Support was so crucial at this time because you have a lot of stress and a lot of big scary decisions,” she said.

“You need to make about your life that you had never thought of before.

“Your faced with how will I continue going to work?

“How am I going to be able to support myself financially, especially since I have only just left school?”

Now a day-out from her 22nd birthday, the Sydney University student has signed on as an ambassador for CanTeen’s Bandanna Day.

The cancer charity supports young people through programs that offer counselling and peer-to-peer support with other cancer patients.

Ballarat residents have been asked to show their support by buying and wearing a bandanna on October 27.

Miss Sherritt will take it one step further – she will wear a different a bandanna every day for 31 days until the end of October.

She said her experience with CanTeen was so amazing she wanted to do all she could to raise awareness.

“The bandanna is symbol of hope, connection and resilience for young people affected by cancer,” she said.

“The exposure means that more people can hear about Canteen meaning more youth can access the services.

“Funds go to the camps, recreational days and psychosocial events that helped me get through the landmine that is a cancer diagnosis.”

Miss Sherritt said she was cleared in remission following the end of her treatments in 2016, but she still has to get monthly checks in Ballarat and Melbourne.

CanTeen aims to raise $1.3 million to support young people living with cancer during the fundraiser.

Supporters can donate on Miss Sherritt’s challenge page at everydayhero.com.au, or buying a bandanna from the CanTeen website to wear on National Bandanna Day.