If you are or know someone affected by Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer, whether as a patient or caregiver, you'll want to keep reading...
You may or may not have heard, but there's a really cool nonprofit organization called Stupid Cancer (A.K.A. the voice of young adult cancer) that hosts 3 main events annually in the United States: a large conference in the midwest and two regional summits, one each on the east and west coasts.
This Saturday, September 17th is the east coast event in New York from 9am-4pm and I was excited to attend for the second time, except tickets just sold out! That's sad news for us east coasters. :( However, tickets are still available (and free, by the way!) for the west coast summit in Irvine, California on October 29th.
Though I was nervous about going last year because my choice of treatments ultimately led me in a different direction than most of my peers, all whom I met at the summit were very welcoming and I felt a comforting sense of camaraderie. Hearing other people's stories made for an emotional experience at times, but at the end of the day it was uplifting to see the positive attitudes of my peers. Survivors, regardless of treatment path and whether in or post-treatment, as well as caregivers are welcome and I recommend going!
This year there will be a special guest in Irvine - her name is Emily McDowell and she is a writer, illustrator and young adult cancer survivor whose encouraging note cards were provided in my goodie bag last year. Emily's Empathy cards and other gifts provide words of encouragement that many cancer patients want to hear yet few know how to say. There are some gems - some that make you laugh and some that make you cry (or do both) - but if none of them strike your fancy you can at least get some ideas to get started writing your own message to the cancer butt-kicker(s) in your life.
Here are some that I connected with...
When I went through radiation treatments my taste buds changed and this "One more chemo down" card would've been great (at least, with "chemo" crossed out and replaced by "radiation").
When a friend didn't know what to say and didn't say anything at all, I wished she had sent me this "I didn't know what to say" card.
Others I appreciate:
"Here for you always" card
"School of hard knocks" card
"Born to do this" card
"You can do it!" mug
A little note can go a long way. :)
So, I hope you'll consider going to the Stupid Cancer summit if you're in the area. If you can't, check out what Stupid Cancer is all about - they have a lot to offer!
Have a great weekend, my friend. Talk to you soon!
P.S. Let me know if you have a favorite card or gift from Emily's website and leave a comment here!