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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Cancer

Mission: Young adults with cancer slip into a lonely no-man’s land. Too old for the instant community of a children’s hospital, they’re still too young to be a part of the over-50 community that overwhelmingly populates adult cancer wards. Because young adults with cancer are a relatively small group, the difficulty of finding peer support is increased exponentially, forcing many to deal in isolation with issues specific to this age and stage of life: dating with cancer, disclosure to a potential employer, long-term insurance issues, moving back home, loss of fertility, or having to quit school or a newly-launched career.Planet Cancer exists so that no young adult will have to endure such isolation.  In addition, we work to raise awareness in the medical community about young adults as a distinct group with distinct needs. A greater focus on young adults, their cancers, their issues (including lack of insurance and low participation in clinical trials) and their medical needs will hopefully lead to improvement in survival rates, which have not increased one iota for this age group in 30 years.

Target demographics: 18-40 year old cancer patients and survivors.

Geographic areas served: national

Programs: Planet cancer has provided a critical community of peer support and advocacy for young adults with cancer.

Community Stories

12 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Planet Cancer is the BOMB!! I would never have made it through all the tough times (and there still are some) after being diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer without PC! The website is wonderful. The people I've met are wonderful. The retreats are WONDERFUL!! If you're a young adult, and find youself fighting cancer, please find PLANET CANCER

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This review is on behalf of my late husband, Mike Moore. Diagnosed in 1995 at the age of 24 with Hodgkin's Lymphoma while in the Army, Mike definitely felt isolated because of his circumstances but also because he took a different approach to cancer than others he encountered. He laughed in it's face, didn't let it consume or define him, and wasn't one to sit in a support group with people his parents' age or older. In February 2007 Mike and I were fortunate enough to attend the inaugural Planet Cancer Couples Retreat. Mike was hesitant to attend a gathering where the focus was cancer (I mean, the majority of his prior decade was spent in a hospital so I didn't blame him) but once we were there, he knew THIS was different than anything else he'd ever experienced. He instantly bonded with his fellow diagnosed, even though we didn't really talk about cancer the whole first day. There was a shorthand and deep understand they shared it and was wonderful to see him connect when, for so long, I know he felt “apart” from his peers as they continued on in their careers, growing their families, and moving through the “normal” milestones of young adulthood. Unfortunately Mike’s cancer was persistent and, after almost twelve years of constant treatment (multiple PSCTs, gallons of chemo, radiation, clinical trials…you name it), his body succumbed to a disease his spirit never gave in to. I know that if Mike were still around to experience the wonderful things Planet Cancer continues to do—from the creation of the social network MyPlanet to the advocacy initiatives bringing attention to YA oncology, the upcoming book, and especially new Top 10 lists (always his fav)—he’d be writing this review himself. My hope is that, with the spotlight Planet Cancer shines on YA issues, the perils & pitfalls unique to young adult cancer will be more readily recognized and addressed resulting in more widespread peer & facility support, an increase in successful treatment, and ultimately an improvement in the stagnant survival rates of young adults with cancer.

9

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

PC is the only place where I feel at home with cancer. Everyone on the site has a great understanding of so many of the things that we are going through. Living in Ireland with a rare cancer does not give me any ability to meet or have discussions with fellow fighters of Sarcoma (that is my type of cancer), but through PC I have met people with the exact same cancer, which means we have had the same chemo, same radiation, same operations. We can chat with each other, compare notes, help each other, give each other advice and guidance. There is no way of knowing what it is like to have cancer, until you have cancer. PC is the only place that everyone understands what you are going through. Cancer is not like other diseases, it cuts us deep in the core of our lives. It takes away hope and future. But being a part of PC helps me to enjoy the 'now'.

12

Donor

Rating: 5

I have (at this current time!) never had cancer...but the friends and family members that have is a high number! I am also friends w/many Doctors on a social level that share their concern w/the growing number of younger folks that are getting cancer. Planet Cancer is a fantastic way for this generation to connect with others who are going through this nightmare or have been there to offer support. Family support is crucial...but as we all know..it isn't enough. Thank you Planet Caner for making a positive difference in this world!!! I will continue to donate funds as well as tell everyone that I run into about Planet Cancer.

12

Donor

Rating: 5

I would like to thank Plaanet Cancer again for the out reach to my son when he was fighting his battle with cancer. My son Michael Moore was invited to couples weekend in 2007 with his wife Sarah. They did not know that this would be their last trip together. Michael had a wonderful time meeting some very special people and sharing his last days with them in such a speical environment. This weekend opened him up and he and Sarah talked about some very difficult subjects. Michael also had the chance to vist with his army buddie that lived close to Planet Cancer. Michael retruned to California and was hospitalized with pneumonia. All the treatments had compromised his lungs and other organs and he could not fight the cancer any longer. He died on March 6, 2007 peacefully with his family at his side. Our wonderful Sarah is still very involved with Planet Cancer and we love to hear about all the projects they do to help young adults with cancer.

10

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor and this social network for young people afflicted by various cancers helped me connect with other people that had the same or similar diagnosis as me. This service is invaluable in allowing young people with an uncommon and stigmatized shared experience to come together and offer support and hope to each other. This service was a fantastic help to me as a recently diagnosed person whom had so many unanswered questions and felt so isolated and alone. This very simple idea helps so many people around the world by connecting us. Planet Cancer unites young survivors in solidarity as opposed to being isolated in fear.

10

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 36. This meant that I was at least 20 years younger than anyone else I met who was going through treatment. Planet Cancer helped me to connect with people dealing with the same things that I was. I cannot say enough good things about this organization!

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Planet Cancer is a fantastic organization that seeks to fill a void many young adults seem to fall into when they face a cancer diagnosis. Many are uninsured, or underinsured, newly independent, starting their careers or in the early stages of one, and they can quickly become overwhelmed at the huge decisions facing them. Planet Cancer provides peer support for those exact needs, and a community of people who have "been there" and "get it." One memory from one of the PC retreats I was privileged to attend always sticks out to me - when a young adult named Mike said after it that he felt comfortable there, because for once, he wasn't the "guy in the room with cancer" - he was simply Mike. PC is also a helpful resource for friends and family to gain a better understanding of what the patient may be going through and dealing with - which is extremely important as this demographic can be struggling with the things mentioned above, as well as moving back in with your parents, trying to date with Cancer, etc... I've had some incredible experiences volunteering for Planet Cancer, and have literally seen young adults light up like you can't believe at the realization that they are NOT alone in their struggle, that there (unfortunately) ARE others "like" them, going through similar things, and that they can connect with them and gain strength from those relationships and connections as they keep pushing through treatment and hopefully beyond...

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Planet Cancer provides support and encouragement to Adolescent/Young Adults (AYA) with cancer. They provide a service that is specific to this age group and really resonates with the concerns that AYAs face when dealing with cancer. You can't find a better organization that helps this age group.

9

Donor

Rating: 5

My sister really could have used an organization like Planet Cancer when she was diagnosed at age 19. She never felt like there was an outlet for people her to connect with others going through the same thing and where people would "get" what she is going through. Planet Cancer not only provides support and community for young adults with cancer but also advocates for the needs of young adults with cancer out in the big, bad world. I believe wholeheartedly in Planet Cancer and that is why my family's foundation which we created in my sister's memory has been a major donor to PC every year since its inception.