As Summer slips into the feistier days of Fall, I wanted to write this What’s Up Catchup so you can see what I have been doing since my last blog entry in April 2013.
I’m a proud production sponsor of Mike Lang’s latest documentary project, a new webseries called Valleys that was released in the spring. This FREE film resource is an essential tool for educating medical professionals, caregivers and young adults with cancer about the challenges and experience of the young adult caregiver. In May, I had the opportunity to join Mike, cancer survivor Amy and her caregiver friend Annie (who appear in Valleys) in a radio interview for the VoiceAmerica Health and Wellness Network: “Frankly Speaking About Cancer – Finding Support Through Documentary Film”. It’s archived here if you’d like to check it out. Thanks to Emily Martin, Communications Coordinator at Uniting the Wellness Community & Gilda’s Club Worldwide for organizing!
The months of June, July and August were filled with editing duties for the Caregivers Section at Cancer Knowledge Network. I was honoured to facilitate and sometimes write introductions for articles by some of the amazing caregivers/survivors that I met or reconnected with at Critical Mass 2012 and Stupid Cancer’s OMG Summit 2013, including:
– young adult cancer survivor/caregiver Suleika Jaouad (read her piece on “10 Things Not To Say to a Cancer Patient” here; you can also follow her on Twitter @suleikajaouad or visit her blog, Secrets of Cancerhood
– author and caregiver extraordinaire Rob Harris, a true find and a new friend (read his piece on “The Intimacy of Cancer” for CKN here)
– Lou Greensweig, father of StupidCancer.org founder Matthew Zachary, (read his piece for CKN here)
– Lorna Larsen, founder of Team Shan, who wrote a piece for us in honour of her daughter, called “No Longer the Caregiver, Now What”
– Kim Jones, another mother, caregiver and advocate, also the founder of the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation, wrote “From the Football Field to the Cancer Ward: One mother’s journey with her son” for CKN here
It has been my pleasure to introduce CKN readers to the heartfelt, raw and real stories these people (along with others not mentioned here) bravely shared with all of us. Please check out their contributions in the Caregivers Section at CKN.
September brought me the opportunity to introduce another incredible woman to the CKN Caregiver communtiy: Anne Grinyer, author of Cancer in Young Adults – Through the Parents’ Eyes and Palliative and End of Life Care for Children and Young People: Home, Hospice and Hospital. Her piece for CKN can be found here. I first met Anne in 2010 when she interviewed me about my experience as a parent of a young adult who died of cancer, at the Teenage Cancer Trust Conference in London, England. One of my goals for 2014 is to bring her to Canada to share her wisdom with us.
In honour of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in October, I submitted an article of my own at CKN, addressing the difficult topic of a parent losing a child to cancer : “Just Keep Breathing“.
In November I will be attending the Critical Mass Conference in Cleveland, Ohio. I’m looking forward to seeing some old friends and connecting with new ones! I am also already following the OMG Cancer Summit news for 2014. I was so excited to note that while last year’s conference included 1 or 2 sessions with a “caregiver” focus, this year that number has multiplied up to 6. I am thrilled to see that the voice of the caregiver in the young adult cancer community is gaining recognition and support.
So…other than spending the glorious month of October up at our ranch in the wilds of the West Chilcotin, chasing cows, harvesting the garden and hanging with my husband, Lee…that is “What’s Up Catchup” for me.