Monday, August 27, 2007

The tribe has spoken- 'survivor'ship isn't about silence

Suddenly it happens to you and immediately they call you a survivor. Even if you've just begun the journey it doesn't seem possible that already they're calling you a survivor. Maybe some people think now I should just put it behind me, shove it under a rug and try not to speak about it again. I've learned something about myself through this...I can't. If putting this behind me means forgetting the whole purpose that inspires me then I won't ever put this completely behind me.

Suddenly I've added a role to my life that is just as important to me as what I do for my paycheck. I am an advocate. Last year it started with a team that my Mom and I formed in one week for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. I'd been involved with the organization and it meant a lot to me, but just then I wasn't sure I felt strong enough to participate. I was too weak to walk...I was hairless and I just didn't have it in me. How could we be a fundraising force with one co-captain ripe with chemo-brain and the other the care-giver trying to give care to said co-captain? Somehow happened we created a team...17 friends and family members showed up. We walked, I wheeled and we raised more than $900 that went to area blood cancer patients and research. It really showed me the power of being involved.

So I invite you now to join me in
September 28th 2007 at Monroe Community College, Rochester NY.
We walk to celebrate and commemorate the lives touched by blood cancers.

UP NEXT...this latest project I've been involved with is through a pretty hip organization...

I'm Too Young For This!

Thanks to Matthew Zachary and an organization he heads nicknamed i2y or I'm Too Young For This I am really seeing the power of young cancer survivorship and advocacy. Frankly, Matthew is a force to be reckoned with in cancer issues that relate to the young adult population and a pretty cool guy. And he had the good sense to add me to the i2y Advisory Council, which right there means he's a very good judge of character. wink wink

So anyway, why am I telling you all this? Because first of all, not all cancer survivors fit the AARP demographic...and if you know someone now, a peer, co-worker or friend that is dealing with need to direct them to this site. Seriously, if you do know someone and have heard yourself say "he/she is too young for that" the odds are you were half right. They are too young for this...but perhaps they also felt too young for the help offered, the resources available and the support around them. Maybe they went to one support group meeting and never returned because they felt out of place.

I am working on organizing what Matthew calls a "Stupid Cancer Happy Hour" right here in Rochester. That's right. Imagine a group of young adults in a bar one night drinking and celebrating survivorship. Yeah buddy. Oh, yeah, and this is not an exclusive invitation. You don't have to show the C card or have ridden the Chemo Canal to come...just support the cause and support the young survivors you toast with.

SO with that in mind...if you are in Rochester, Buffalo...heck anywhere in driving distance...I want to hear from you! I am in the very beginning stages of planning this know basic things like where and when to have it. BUT the important thing is finding a base of young survivors who really want to get together for a night of common ground, socializing and supporting a phenomenal organization.

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