Let’s regroup

January 1, 2016

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The group photo from Retreat Yourself 2005, our very first face-to-face event

As the beginning of a new year is rife with reflection and affirmation and good intentions, it seems like a great time to remind our community and supporters why we’re here, and why we’re going to push a little harder in 2016.

First of all, research on young adults who have been diagnosed with cancer found isolation is a number one issue after diagnosis, and they rate support from cancer peers to be more important than that from family and friends (read more here).

We are nearing our 1,000th face-to-face connection, but we know there are approximately 48,000 other young adults in Canada who don’t know about us, or haven’t been able to find that support.

What about other organizations? Well, that’s also part of the problem. While there are some great groups out there working with this population on their unique issues, our last count indicates there are only between six and eight organizations working directly with those aged 15-39. In the whole country.

Why is peer support so important? It all goes back to the root of how YACC got started. Geoff was 22 when he was first diagnosed with cancer. Despite many nights in the hospital and a willingness to connect with others experiencing similar feelings and experiences, most of the other patients were way older than he was, making it difficult to talk about things that were really important to him.

Just imagine: You have just graduated from university or high school and have an ambitious group of friends who are all heading out to take over the world. Then you’re diagnosed with cancer. Your friends have your back, but they’re also busy trying to kick start their own lives. Then, while they’re all pairing up and having children, you learn your treatment has made you infertile. You haven’t settled down yet, and now your brush with mortality, scars, and infertility become psychological barriers to starting new relationships. Your friends are moving up the corporate ladder, and you’re ready to go back to work, but you’re dealing with brain fog and fatigue from your treatments. You had to move back in with your parents after just earning your independence. You’re in debt because of medical-related travel, medications, and your lengthy unemployment. Once you go back to work, it’s going to be really hard to get health insurance because of your “preexisting condition.” Your friends listen, but they can’t really understand. They are going out to the pub and traveling to destination weddings because that’s what they’re “supposed” to do. Everyone in the hospital or support groups has already retired, or had children who have had children, or own their own homes, and don’t know what it’s like to try and get your life off the ground with all these other challenges.

But another young adult dealing with cancer knows exactly what you’re dealing with. They’re dealing with it all, too. They might know of some ways to help tackle your problems, or they can at least truly understand your frustrations, fears, and ideas.

And that’s why YACC exists.

YACC’s mission is to support young adults as they move through and beyond cancer. To be the connection to peers, bridge out of isolation, and source of inspiration. Any cancer, any stage, YACC’s got your back.
And we couldn’t do it if you didn’t have ours. The awesome young adults we meet and get to know; the incredible psychologists, social workers, and nurses who attend our events; and the tremendous donors, supporters, and volunteers make it possible for us to connect with and empower those who feel “forgotten” in a healthcare system that deals mostly with children under 15 and adults over 40.

Life is different when you’re a young adult; it only makes sense that cancer is, too.

We look forward to rolling out our next events, meeting even more young adults affected by cancer, and working with everyone to make real, life-changing ideas a reality.

Here are three easy ways you can help today:

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