Cancer survivors and family members share the advice they’d give a friend who’d recently received a diagnosis.

Cancer Hope Network’s volunteer team of cancer survivors and cancer caregivers is growing! Graduates of our first peer mentor training class of 2023 are prepared with the skills and resources to provide hope and help to cancer patients and caregivers across the country.  

Members of this class experienced a variety of treatments – from chemotherapies and radiation to Goldilocks reconstruction, and even a splenectomy. Some were matched with a Cancer Hope mentor when going through their own treatment and are now ready to pay that service forward. Others served as caregivers for their loved ones during their cancer experience Their hobbies include meditation, nature and wildlife photography, and working out. Members of the class speak Spanish, Italian, and Arabic.  

“There is a through line of hope and care with every person who serves as a CHN peer mentor, but each training class brings a special perspective,” said CHN program director Samantha Schrager. “This class was particularly passionate about listening to their bodies and finding ways to stay positive no matter what the circumstances.”  

Cancer Support Volunteer Christina quote, cancer survivor lessons, with sunflower background.


Three lessons from cancer survivors they would give a friend who was newly diagnosed. 

Be brave in your own way. 

Debbie encourages newly diagnosed patients to embrace honesty and transparency. “It’s okay to say you’re scared. Sometimes we’re afraid to tell people it’s scary. Telling people helps acknowledge and overcome the fear. Don’t be afraid to say you’re scared. It’s real and it’s okay.”  

Accept help.  

Endometrial cancer survivor Marianne shared her deep gratitude for the support she received from family and friends and caregiver mentor Ashleigh recalled how difficult – but necessary – it was to accept the help of others. 

Ask questions.  

When newly trained caregiver mentor Christina was six, her mother cared for her aunt who was going through cancer. Seventeen years later, it was Christina’s turn to care for her mother. Today, mother and daughter are doing well, and those formative experiences made Christina a passionate advocate for the benefits of genetic counseling. They’ve also helped her develop thoughtful insight. “Find support. Advocate for yourself. Find resources. Educate yourself. Make informed decisions. Everyone has their own experience.”  


The January 2023 group of trained Cancer Hope Network Support Volunteers joins nearly 500 of CHN’s active Support Volunteers from across the nation. Peer support mentors speak 15 languages and range in age from 19-94.  

Support matches (the connection between a trained volunteer and a patient or caregiver) often start with a shared diagnosis or similar treatment. They are then personalized to meet the needs of each client based on shared life experiences or special circumstances. Matches are free and confidential – and often include multiple visits.   

Request a match with a trained cancer mentor, or call our Programs Team at 877.467.3638. 

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