Cherished family memories inspired card's design

17:00, Apr 08 2014
 Kate Warner
REMEMBERING THE CELEBRATIONS: The inspiration behind the greeting card Kate Warner, 23, designed for CanTeen was celebrating special times with her family.

Kate Warner lost her twin brother Matthew to cancer four years ago and has designed a greeting card that reminds her of family celebrations with him.

The 23-year-old New Plymouth woman's card is one in a new range of greeting cards put out by CanTeen.

"Growing up we used to decorate the Christmas tree together and Christmas was a huge family time. [The design] reminded me of that. Of being with my family," she said.

At the end of 2009, Warner's brother had just finished his first year at PIHMS - his ambition was to own a hotel in Ireland - when he was first diagnosed, she said.

"He'd just finished his placement on Hamilton Island and came back complaining of back problems."

He was diagnosed with malignant nerve sheath sarcoma, which is pretty rare and very aggressive, she said.

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"And within not even half a year he had passed away."

Warner was studying design at Massey University in Wellington and flew home every weekend.

"We cared for Matthew at home. I was quite accepting of it. He just accepted it and didn't talk about it."

CanTeen had an office over the road from her Wellington flat so Warner went over to check it out.

It's nice to be around a group of people who "have been there and done that", she said.

"Everyone's situation is completely different, but there is like an understanding of what you are going through."

After her brother died, some people treated her differently, she said.

"My close friends didn't, but acquaintances didn't know how to talk to me or avoided me."

But, at CanTeen there was an environment where people understood.

Warner, a bereaved sibling member of CanTeen, went on an art camp about three years ago where they made Christmas cards.

"You were kind of expected to paint but I was used to doing things on the computer."

So she made a couple of designs and forgot about them.

That was, until last year when she received a call from CanTeen telling her they were using one of her designs in a new pack of greeting cards.

"(The design) has been changed a little, but I wasn't bothered. My grandparents were really excited."

Each card is designed by a CanTeen member. CanTeen supports young people who are living with cancer as a patient, sibling or bereaved sibling.

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