The value of sharing time with other cancer warriors, talking about what works and doesn't work, and to hear other stories is empowering. You gain a new perspective.
Once you step into the world of advanced cancer, it's hard to find an escape from the new reality. I have been living this reality for what seems like forever. I've also discovered that no matter how hard it is to take a vacation from cancer; it is essential. Taking that break from cancers with others who are traveling the same journey is even better!
Waking up each day with a future that is unknown and a calendar filled with treatments, scans, results, decisions, and the associated emotions is challenging. Conversations are all too often serious. Balance becomes a strange, mixed vertigo of anxiety and anticipation. Sometimes, there are no right words to express how having advanced cancer feels. There is no simple way to explain the daily trials and triumphs that occur.
Meeting others in a similar situation, and knowing that you aren't alone, makes a huge difference. I've been fortunate to meet friends that have helped me through side effects, difficult scan results, emotional hurdles, and even to find new treatments along the way. So when YES! was developed, I made it a focus to ensure that no one faces advanced cancer alone.
As those of us who are diagnosed with advanced cancer live longer and better, the need for peer matching and support will continue to grow. During 2014, YES matched more than 1,200 FRIENDS. Through seminars, meetings, and awareness events we were able to bring many of those FRIENDS together.
The value of sharing time with other cancer warriors, talking about what works and doesn't work, and to hear other stories is empowering. You gain a new perspective. As my friend Jennifer Thorpe says, "Finding hope helps to find the new normal." Watch the following video to hear some of the stories at a recent awareness event.
There is a lot of learning and living to do in spite of advanced cancer! Together, we are "Gonna BEAT This Thing!"