I went to the Annual Young Adult Cancer Conference this weekend. Apparently it is every spring at DFCI. It was really informative. The young survivors there were quite incredible!!! It was just an energetic and powerful day in every way. In a later post I will describe some of the sentiments and comments of some of the young survivors, but here is a listing of some great resources discussed that day.
Also as an update, I have added some resources that I found out about at the OMG summit in Las Vegas.
Imerman Angels (connecting new survivors with survivor mentors)
The keynote speaker blew me away. Jonny Imerman spoke about "Finding Meaning and Purpose in Your Experience". This amazing young man took his cancer journey and went on to help thousands of other young cancer survivors. I had heard of his group before, but hearing him speak in person and watching him talk to other young survivors was truly impressive. His energy, humor and compassion just electrified the audience.
His story: he went to his own cancer center when he had finished his treatment for testicular cancer and spoke to other young survivors. Several years later he founded his own non-profit group that matches up the cancer survivor with a mentor that has the same type of cancer. The mentor is available to help answer questions and give hope to the newer cancer "fighter" or survivor.
This group has members all around the world. Truly awesome!!! This site is great for "newbies" or for those survivors who want to volunteer as mentors. Also, he brought up THE most important time for a mentor. The period of time when you finish treatment and you kind of feel "out there" without your safety net (md,nurse, structure of clinic). He mentioned that you feel very alone at this time (one of the most common things I hear) and that it is the perfect time to get a mentor at his website.
If you are a veteran, please think about signing up as a mentor!!
The Sam Fund
I've mentioned this organization in 2 previous blog postings. I had spoken with and emailed with Sam Watson before, but to meet her and to hear her speak!! Honestly, I was just amazed that someone so young has made such a difference in the world. She is awesome and her organization is awesome!!!
I mentioned in previous posts about the financial assistance for young survivors. Several folks at the conference mentioned how beneficial the webinars on her website are in helping young survivors to save money on health insurance, how to look for jobs and how to explain gaps in your resume etc. Just by watching the webinar, one woman learned how to save about $600 a month on health insurance. So please....check it out!! http://www.thesamfund.org/webinar/
Cancer and Careers (for survivors of all ages)
Jonny, Sam and several young survivors attending the conference spoke of how fabulous "Cancer and Careers" group was. 100% free legal and job assistance, counseling, information, helpful tips.
Cancer Legal Resource Center (for survivors of all ages)
"CLRC, a program of the Disability Rights Legal Center and Loyola Law School Los Angeles, specializes in providing practical information on the legal, financial and employment rights of people with cancer.
Many of the young survivors present (as well as Jonny and Sam) raved about this organization. Sounds AWESOME!!!
"First Descents offers young adult cancer fighters and survivors (ages 18 to 39) a free outdoor adventure experience designed to empower them to climb, paddle and surf beyond their diagnosis, defy their cancer, reclaim their lives and connect with others doing the same".
This group sounds similar, providing adventure retreats for young survivors:
The "Always Keep Pedaling Foundation" (The AKP Foundation)
Cancer Transitions Program
One young survivor spoke about a great program through Livestrong. A great series to help those transitioning back into their new normal after cancer. The program the person who spoke attended it at MGH, but it sounds like one site only has the program running for two time periods. It sounds like the new grant period is underway, so keep checking back here for current locations:
Funding for young survivors for things like: laptops, electronics, art supplies, cameras and integrative therapies.
"We are here to support your hobbies, personal pursuits, and passions, those things that have nothing to do with cancer and everything to do with making life a little easier while undergoing treatment or medical care".
Just fyi....as with all good funds, sometimes they "temporarily dry up" until they receive more donations. The woman I spoke to from this group said they were temporarily not taking any more applications, but keep checking back here.
Another survivor matching or "one to one" program:
Need to raise funds for a friend who is a cancer survivor? This site helps you start a fundraising page.
A great website/link clearinghouse for all things "young survivor related":
6 Day Camps in Hawaii for Young Survivors:
Sharsheret: Your Jewish Community Facing Breast Cancer:
That's it for now. Two amazing young survivors who are making a difference for other young survivors, and some great resources mentioned!!! Rock on Jonny and Sam!!! Rock on young survivors!!!!!!!!!!! Rock on OMG Summit!!!