A sex-free hook-up?

December 2, 2013
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Photo by Steve Frangakis

Young Adult Cancer Canada (YACC) brought 170 members of the YACC community together in a new and exciting way this past weekend. The Big Cancer Hook-up created a nationwide networking opportunity for young people who are dealing with cancer diagnoses.

On November 30, three amazing cancer survivors participated in a panel discussion at Ryerson University in Toronto. These survivors spoke about the different stages of cancer they have dealt with from diagnosis to life after treatment. It was an opportunity for young adults to learn from their peers and find support, inspiration, and hope.

“I was depressed, suicidal and feeling totally isolated when I was diagnosed with cancer. It was the lowest point in my life. YACC connected me with other young adults who were dealing with the same challenges I was. This experience not only changed my life, but YACC literally saved my life,” said Lynsey Frangakis, one of the panelists. “It was an amazing feeling to be able to speak on the Big Cancer Hook-up panel to reach out to other young adults with cancer who are in—or have been in—situations similar to my own.”

Thanks to modern technology, those who couldn’t attend were able to join in via the web or by visiting one of the six satellite locations in major cities around the country. Participants left comments and questions in a Facebook group dedicated to the event, and the conversation in the group added to the sense of a nation-wide community of people who understand what it’s like to have cancer as young adults.

“We wanted to bring cancer survivors together and help create yet another space where they could learn and feel inspired by others,” said Geoff Eaton, executive director, YACC. “The Big Cancer Hook-up offered this on a national scale, where people from all over the country could join in and celebrate this peer support. YACC is growing and we are committed to ensuring our networks of support are accessible to all young adults.”

More about the three inspiring panelists who spoke at the Big Cancer Hook-up:

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Photo by Steve Frangakis

Jamie Carswell: Diagnosed with stage three invasive breast cancer in 2008 with a recurrence in 2013. Jamie has an eight-month-old son and is on parental leave from her job as an RCMP officer. She still faces eight months of chemotherapy.

Peter Laneas: Diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2002. Peter is no longer in treatment, but has learned and grown so much since his diagnosis.

Lynsey Frangakis: Diagnosed with incurable brain cancer in 2011. Currently enjoying a break in her treatment, she was recently married and has just returned to work.

“When dealing with a cancer diagnosis, there is no such thing as too much support. At YACC, we want to help young adults build up their support team so daunting diagnoses seem much more manageable and the strength to fight the disease is that much more powerful,” said Eaton.

Watch the full Big Cancer Hook-up web cast:

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