Each June, Cancer Hope Network joins oncology professionals, nonprofit support groups and individuals in celebrating Cancer Survivor Month.
There are literally millions of reasons to celebrate: The number of cancer survivors is expected to top 22 million by 2030. New drugs and treatments being developed (The National Cancer Institute reports clinical trials at more than 2K sites) and approved (American Association of Cancer Research notes 16 new oncology drugs approved last year.)
Behind each of these statistics and facts is a story. At Cancer Hope Network, those cancer survivor stories are at the heart of our mission – making sure that no one faces cancer alone.
Our survivor Support Volunteers are a diverse group of folks – they’ve faced more than 80 types and subtypes of cancer (more than 98% of the cancers that will be diagnosed this year), they speak 15 languages and range from 19-94 years old. They’re parents and siblings, friends and coworkers. They’re teachers, shoemakers, and HAM radio operators.
And they’re all focused on one thing: making cancer less isolating and scary for other patients, caregivers and survivors. Each day, during Cancer Survivor Month and throughout the year, these cancer survivors and cancer caregivers create hope by providing peer support for people facing cancer across the nation.
Telling stories: my dream job
Serving as Director of External Affairs for Cancer Hope Network is the job of a lifetime: I get to work with amazing colleagues (Meet our staff!) and collaborate with incredible partners across the nation (Meet Kristin, who is part of our peer support pilot program with Stanford Health Care or meet Ellen, who is part of our collaboration with the Lung Cancer Research Foundation.).
But the very best part of my awesome job is uplifting cancer survivors by working with CHN’s nearly 500 active cancer survivor and caregiver volunteers.
This Cancer Survivor Month, I’m especially proud to join the CHN community in celebrating some of our long-term survivor volunteers. I hope you’ll enjoy a few of my favorites from the Hopelight Spotlight archives – ordinary humans making an extraordinary difference.
- Matched with a volunteer shortly after his treatment, tongue cancer survivor John wasn’t able to speak. His survivor volunteer helped John’s family understand what was coming. Today, John’s service as a volunteer continues – as does his dedicated work as a social worker.
- Kelly was diagnosed with cervical cancer shortly after her wedding. Six months later, her husband was asking for a divorce. Today, she’s a happily married mother and stands ready to mentor other early-stage patients.
- His kidney transplant led to a diagnosis of Non Hodgkins Lymphoma. Today, Jeff is spreading his message of love and gratitude across the world.
- Jenn was finishing her last year in medical school and getting ready for a wedding. Then, she was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma. Today, she’s helping her matches find hope as a CHN mentor. “If I can make anything good out of this situation, if my experience can help others, that’s another way for cancer not to take away so much.”
- It’s been several years since I first interviewed caregiver Rodney about his continent-crossing love story. But the advice he shared in that conversation has stuck with me. “Nothing prepares you for these kinds of situations. You think you are strong and you can do it for yourself. But you need a lot of help. Use the support around you.”
This month and every month, Cancer Hope Network’s team is committed to providing hope and support for cancer survivors at any stage on their journeys: from diagnosis, through treatment and into survivorship. Click HERE or call 877.HOPENET (877.467.3638) to request a free and confidential match.