You ever know something in your gut, the feeling you get when you know something you consider to be fact but you don’t necessarily have the “research” to back it up. Well I live my life largely on my “gut” feeling, and when I feel something is the right thing to do I do it.
I started RealTime Cancer because I just had this feeling that if I opened myself up to young people, shared my story and my positive message with them, it would help. It would make a positive impact. I was right, and am so glad I was. There are countless examples of me going with my gut that have lead me to a good place. In fact my gut is very rarely wrong. My challenge is that I’m not always in tune with it. Sometimes I have to listen very carefully and while I’m improving in that department, I still struggle from time to time as other noise gets in the way.
While I use my gut, or intuition, many others do require some level of research before they can buy in to a course of action. They need hard facts that prove beyond some level of doubt that a given path is the right path. Neither way is wrong, but I do prefer to follow my intuition and can also get frustrated with the “evidenced-based requirement” of others. However in my growing wisdom I have come to recognize that perhaps the old saying, “everything in moderation” has something to it. In fact, it is probably dead on.
I know success will come when I’m able to balance my intuition with the appropriate amount of research and match both of those findings with my passion to make an impact.
It appears I have done that with RTC, for the most part, as it is a continuous effort for me, this balance thing.
In 2000 I started going to high schools, any school that would have me, and talking to students about my experiences, and about RTC and our website. I have been doing that consistently for the past four years in what we can the RealTime Cancer Challenge. It is a public education school program that has been a great success. Somewhere along the way in the last number of years I added this exercise in my presentation, primarily to break things up a little and get the audience’s attention, just in case they weren’t dialed in. I ask students to raise their hand if they have had someone in their family diagnosed with cancer. The response has been the same in every school. A massive number of hands go up and in every school I have a teacher or principal come to me after the presentation and say, sometimes quietly, sometimes in shock, “I didn’t realize we have that many kids connected to cancer.”
To show proof of my personal growth and my understanding that research, evidence, is important, RTC decided to investigate this “showing of hands” further.
We interviewed 350 students in four local high schools and found that fully 70 per cent of them have already had a diagnosis of cancer in their family. Our research also revealed that 85 per cent of the students have had contact with cancer through their social circle, a friend, neighbour, teacher, etc.
This research gets even more significant when you complement it with secondary research we did to find other cancer charities with a focus that is similar to ours. A focus on educating and supporting young people, youth and young adults, dealing with Cancer.
Surprise, surprise we found grand total of “0” other organizations.
So all you have to do is complement our research indicating this significant education and support need with the fact that no other organizations are meeting the need, throw in some vision, passion, many great minds focusing in one direction and you get an organization (RTC) that is prepared and determined to go and meet this need right across the country.
Now our “international” headquarters are located in St. John’s and we have begun the process of bringing our resources and message to the rest of the country. It is a slow process, but depending on your perspective, we’re moving at a nice pace.
I wanted to share these findings with you and hopefully put another small piece of info in your mind about the necessity for education and support for young people dealing with cancer.
Have a great and safe long weekend!!
Live life. Love life.