Case Study: Teenage Cancer Trust

Working with the charity sector.


I have spoken to the young adults from Teenage Cancer Trust on a number of occasions.

We covered the following topics.

  • Dealing with change.
  • The importance of moving on.
  • Acknowledging that some conditions aren’t visible.
  • Finding away to participate in new & old activities.

The Teenage Cancer Trust is a charitable organisation which runs projects for their young adults who are living with the effects of cancer. I have attended a number of their weekend programmes which aim to create an incredible, inspirational, interactive residential experience away that might just change their lives. Featuring fascinating workshops, brand new friends and a legendary showcase with a brilliant bunch of people who know what it’s like to have cancer.

My presentation covers the following topics.

  • Dealing with change. I talk about how I dealt with the changes I experienced during and after receiving my injuries. Highlighting the differences between our two groups was important to me. However different our circumstances we still have similar issues, managing myself during the course of my rehabilitation was critical to my recovery.
  • The importance of moving on. Life can often seem unfair particularly when we end up sick or injured. Whilst in hospital one of my nurses gave me some advice. she asked me to try and find the good from the bad. Initially I started with the small stuff, it was my job to challenge myself and seek bigger more rewarding situations, experiences and adventures.
  • Acknowledging that some conditions aren’t visible. The injuries I carry are clearly visible, which isn’t helped by the fact I wear shorts all the time. I’m conscious that not every condition can be seen. It is extremely important for all to bear in mind that people are fighting personal battles.
  • Finding away to participate in new & old activities. My recovery was accelerated by my desire to get involved in activities which were previously a big part of my life. Finding new ways to get involved was the challenge. Over the course of my rehabilitation I was fortunate enough to try new challenges, some of which I would never have had the opportunity to take part in previously. If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Teenage Cancer Trust FYSOT U18s 2018

I loved Simon’s talk there were no airs and graces; he cut straight to the point with great humour and humility. He captured the attention of the audience from his first word. I would absolutely recommend Simon to anyone looking for a motivational speaker.

I saw Simon present at a Corporate event recently. He hit a really good balance between sharing his emotionally powerful story and making it relevant to the business audience. I would recommend working with him in future.

Former Olympic RowerGreg Searle MBE, Former GB Olympic Rower

I had the great pleasure of listening to Simon speak recently and from his very first sentence he set the record straight about how experiencing the unthinkable opened up a whole new world for him. Not looking for sympathy or pity, he told his tragic story with humour and such honesty that only someone with such a positive personality and inner strength could achieve. Being able to take people temporarily out of their own lives and then give them a real insight into someone else’s life on the front line I would imagine is a tough skill to achieve, but he did it and furthermore did it very well.

Former England Rugby PlayerLeon Lloyd , Former England Rugby Player

I have had the chance to meet Simon whilst attending the General Counsel Summit in Davos, Switzerland, back in February this year. His presentation, his words and his attitude will remain an inspiration for a while! Simon and his family have been through lifetime experiences that help you put in perspective a lot of your (and your employer’s) issues in perspective. Funny, contagiously positive, bringing Simon into one of your seminars will likely inspire your attendance and remain a highlight of your offerings! I wish Simon, his lovely wife and their children much happiness and a very successful “new” career for Simon! Thank you!!

Associate General CounselJoanne Fischlin , Associate General Counsel

I highly recommend Simon Harmer and his motivational talks that he gives. He came to my office and hosted a full house in which he talked movingly but also with humour and poise about his experiences, how he over-came the challenges he faced and what lessons for life he took away. I and my colleagues found the experience extremely relevant as we are all faced with adversity at times, and knowing how Simon pulled through his own experinces can really help people deal with their own issues. I will be looking to invite Simon back in the future to speak to the new recruits. Being that I work in the defence sector I also think it is particularly advantageous to our non-military colleagues to meet Simon and understand what motivated him to join up, to serve and ultimately to make significant sacrifice.

Tom Auld , Business Development Manager at Altran UK

I had the honour of meeting Simon when he came as our guest speaker to a customer event. His blend of humour and positivity is awe-inspiring when he talks you through this incredible story. Following traumatic life changing injuries he has gone to rebuild his life and listening to him will help put things back into perspective when you think you are having a bad day! I would highly recommend anyone looking for an exceptional guess speaker to look no further.

Joe Pincus, Business Development Director, Telent Technology Services Ltd.

We as rugby players put our bodies on the line each weekend for our club. To hear testimony from a man who put his body on the line, literally, for our country was nothing short of humbling.

Christian Day, Former Northampton Saints Rugby Player

You can see why Saints wanted to hear from Simon Harmer. He tells his story with astonishing clarity and understanding and without a shred of self-pity. He’s an extraordinary example of someone who has not allowed what happened to him to ruin his life. On the contrary, there’s almost a sense that it was a good thing – or at least that’s what he’s turned it into. He’s made of very stern stuff and you can’t help but come away from meeting him with a sense that life is a precious thing which needs to be enjoyed.

Graham McKechnie , Sports Editor, BBC Radio Northampton

Look, listen and learn from Simon Harmer; whose tense, funny inspiring speech captured our attention. His life-changing events put all our lives into perspective and inspire us to always wake up with a smile and take on anything that is thrown our way. He is a man of his word.

Jim Mallinder , Former Director of Rugby Northampton Saints

Simon delivered a truly amazing and inspirational talk at our TEDxRoyalTunbridgeWells event on 4 June 2016, that captured the complete attention of the audience, and one that I will never forget. His outlook on life is extraordinary, he is a hero in every sense of the word. I couldn’t hold anyone in higher regard. Thank you Simon.

Nick Adams, TEDx Royal Tunbridge Wells

Working with Simon is a real pleasure. I have worked with Simon on several events for The Drive Project where Simon has given an inspirational talk. He is always inspiring, articulate and engaging from start to finish.
Simon’s approach to work is very creative, he is always suggesting new and different ideas, this makes him a delight to work with.
I can’t recommend Simon highly enough as a motivational speaker and also a member of any team.

I had the pleasure of working with Simon during my time as a PR and Communications Officer at Help for Heroes. In his role as a Volunteer Ambassador for the charity, Simon never ceased to amaze and motivate all those he came into contact with, whether face to face during public speaking or on camera dealing with national media.

Simon has an incredible ability to level with those he meets, bringing humour to his life experiences and instantly making people feel instantly at ease with his life changing injuries. He is a confident and talented speaker and a truly inspirational individual.