In May 2011 I was 25 years old. I was one month away from a master’s degree, had a job I loved working at KOMO News in Seattle and had just purchased my first home.
Then I got the news no young adult expects to here: You have cancer. I had a rare type of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma called Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma and faced surgery and 6 months of aggressive chemotherapy.
When you’re a young adult life is constantly rushing forward. You have new jobs, new apartments and new adventures. It’s your time to feel ambitious yet carefree. Until you find out you have cancer.
My life came to a crashing halt. Suddenly, days in the newsroom were replaced by days of chemotherapy. Girl’s night out became a girl spending her evening receiving blood transfusions. Instead of going to the dance class, I was in bed, counting pain pills.
Throughout my illness, I was lucky to face cancer with an army of friends and family, a supportive employer and the benefit of medical insurance. Not everyone is so fortunate. I wanted to somehow help other young adults who have heard those terrifying words “You have cancer.”
In December 2011, I founded the non-profit organization Thrive Through Cancer with the mission of helping young adults fight cancer, find hope and thrive.
Thrive Through Cancer has partnered with Swedish Medical Center Foundation to provide newly diagnosed cancer patients, ages 18-39, with “Hope Totes” – bags filled with comforting and joyful items like lotion, lip balm, hats and journals that appeal to young adults. These gifts help cancer patients feel prepared for treatment and let them know that we care about their survival.
Our organization will also “Take a Patient Out” by sponsoring fun activities like spa days, movie dates, performances or dinners. The goal is to treat patients to a joyful experience and allow them to forget about their illness for a few hours.
Finally, Thrive Through Cancer will offer non-medical financial aid for patients who are struggling to make ends meet will they are in treatment. This could pay for utility bills, rent/mortgage, childcare, grocery bills and more.
Please consider making a donation to Thrive Through Cancer so that today’s cancer patients might live amazing lives tomorrow.
Thrive Through Cancer has been developed under the guidance of Northwest Hope and Healing.