A tale of resilience, tenacity, and compassion

In the realm of adversity, some individuals stand out for their unwavering commitment to helping others navigate similar challenges.
Published in UK Director Magazines Summer 2024

Giving Back: Young Tongues

Barbara Fountain, who was diagnosed with tongue cancer in 2019, embodies resilience and compassion.

Following her own experience of cancer, Barbara founded Young Tongues, a charity dedicated to supporting young individuals experiencing tongue cancer across the globe. Her recent fundraising feat – embarking on a daunting 100km trek across the Jordanian desert – exemplifies her unyielding spirit and dedication to the cause.

Kind, caring, and supportive

When Barbara had the opportunity to connect with other young tongue cancer patients, she recognised the need for age-appropriate support for this under-represented and under-served patient population, which has been consistently growing over the past 30 years.

Established in 2021, the charity operates on a set of core values that prioritise the well-being and empowerment of young tongue cancer patients. These values shape the organisation’s culture and actions, ensuring that every initiative is geared towards creating a supportive and inclusive community. The charity’s dedication to putting the patient at the centre of all activities is evident in its unwavering commitment to providing comprehensive resources, peer support, and collaborative working with other organisations. Young Tongues and its collaborators campaign for greater awareness among the primary healthcare professions to improve early diagnosis rates, which not only saves lives but also improves the quality of life for those affected.

In the words of one patient: “Young Tongues has been a lifeline for me while going through treatment. Knowing that there is a community of individuals who understand what I’m going through, and can help me navigate through the impact tongue cancer has had on my speech and ability to eat, has made all the difference.”

The charity’s vision is to shape a future where those affected by tongue cancer are diagnosed at an early stage, receive age-appropriate support, and have access to an inclusive community to alleviate isolation. They also want patients to benefit from an array of kinder treatment options and, in their most ambitious dreams, they hope to witness a heightened understanding of the causes of tongue cancer in young patients without traditional risk factors, paving the way for preventive measures.

Barbara Fountain’s relentless determination and compassion have set the stage for this vision to become a reality.

Funds raised and lives changed

Barbara’s recent trek across the Jordanian desert raised more than £7,000 and was not only a physical challenge but also testament to her determination to make a difference. Marking her own fifth anniversary of being cancer free, she describes the experience as “deeply meaningful”.

At Petra’s finish line, she unfurled a flag bearing the names of over 700 supported patients, dedicating her feat to them and countless others yet to find Young Tongues. She also paid special tribute to nine young women who were members of the community by reading out their names followed by the words: “You are missed, but never forgotten”.  

A tale of resilience, tenacity, and compassion 1


Barbara Fountain is the Founder & CEO of Young Tongues.

E: barbara@youngtonguesglobal.com
Or visit www.youngtonguesglobal.com

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