CancerCare Manitoba social worker is pumped for the Big Cancer Hook-up

November 20, 2013

By Megan McLeod


I live in Manitoba where about 80 young adults are diagnosed with cancer each year. Roughly half of Manitobans live in Winnipeg, and the other half live outside the city which means young adults (YAs) diagnosed with cancer in Manitoba are few and far between. Those distributed stats are good, without a doubt, but it’s a bad thing ‘cause it’s really hard for YA survivors to find one another, especially when you’re a YA living in a small rural or northern community!

All that means it was no surprise when a YA survivor said, ”I’d never met another young adult cancer survivor before going to Young Adult Cancer Canada’s (YACC) Retreat Yourself 2007 in Quebec!” I remember waking up that young guy from an I’d-rather-be-anywhere-but-here kind of nap in the chemo treatment room to offer him that trip. He grabbed the chance for a trip outta Winnipeg! He came home, amazed, saying, “We talked about everything! Anything! It was good!”

I remember a YA survivor struggling and confused about what life after successful treatment needed to be like for her. Her life before cancer no longer fit so well. She was often tired and couldn’t always count on her memory. Her 2012 Retreat Yourself experience was good and challenging—challenging because the introvert in her was shy in a crowd, but good because she came home with ideas to re-create her life and make some sense of it all.

I remember one young woman who found friends at a YACC event from across the country who helped her feel connected, not so alone, not so crazy different! Those YAs helped her find other resources like wilderness camping trips and week-long retreats. Retreat Yourself 2009 was like a door that led to other doors that led her forward.

I remember a young woman who loved her Retreat Yourself experience and two other Manitobans she met there. Her generous spirit recognized a way to turn her upcoming wedding social and marriage into a way to help other YAs. She felt so proud and satisfied to be able to donate some of her gifts so other YAs could share her experience.

I remember a YA at a workshop coining the phrase, “We may be rare, but we are there!” That’s what it can feel like in Manitoba; we need YACC to connect us with YAs through events like Retreat Yourself and the Big Cancer Hook-up!

Join us in person, online, or on Facebook on November 30. Connect for yourself, and connect to support other YAs out there in small rural and northern communities. You can make things better in your own life and in the lives of others by just being there!

Be there, hook-up, and change lives on November 30!


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