At our monthly team meetings, one of our crew members discusses some of our five values: strength, courage, commitment, heart, and spark. This is Kathy’s reflection from this month’s meeting.
Let’s talk relationships.
They are amazing. They are scary. They are complicated. They are life-changing.
The good ones, the bad ones, the in-between ones, relationships are what we are wired to do.
YACC is all about relationships. Connecting survivors to one another is why we exist, and it is within those relationships that healing happens.
Finding a life-changing connection with a stranger sounds easy on paper but in reality, it can be terrifying. It requires vulnerability, energy, and this month’s value: courage.
Relationships require enormous courage, especially for YACCers. Cancer throws everything into disarray. It’s hard enough to meet new people when you’re healthy and emotionally stable, but when you’re dealing with cancer, changes in appearance, financial worries, and stress about your mortality, it is the absolute worst time to venture out into the unknown and make new friends. The energy needed to take that first step is long gone in the middle of a cancer battle and the ability to connect with a new person can feel too intense.
I remember that feeling well.
I was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2013. Six months into remission, I went to my first Retreat Yourself, and even though I had a supporter with me, I was all kinds of scared. I remember walking into the building in Toronto where everyone gathered to take the bus to the retreat centre. I started walking toward someone I thought was in charge and I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned to see Karine’s smiling face. Her reassuring presence gave me a sense of calm. That’s the incredible thing about YACC. YACC really does have our backs because YACC understands how much courage it takes to just show up. YACC helps to make the brave even braver through empathy and understanding. That is such a gift because it gives people a sense of safety when they need it most. Mark Twain said, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, but not the absence of fear.”
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear,
but not the absence of fear.”
Most survivors show up to their first face-to-face YACC event terrified, which is insanely courageous. YACC’s reassuring sense of safety paves the way for survivors to bravely take action in the midst of their fear, step out, attend a YACC event, and do the scariest thing of all — make a new friend.
We can’t thrive without relationships and it takes guts to invest in a new person when so much is already scary, damaged, and unknown. Thankfully, YACC is here to make a scary thing not-so-scary and to help survivors tap into the courage they need to become a life-long part of the YACC family.