July 31, 2009
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.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
the faces & lives of it's participants and members.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
turn it back over to Heidi.
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
the space they create to laugh amongst and even because of difficult situations.
The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...
compassionate, deeply committed, personally invested, funny, tireless, innovative, witty, and now my friends.
If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...
ensure that no young adult felt isolated after a diagnosis with cancer in addition to furthering the vital expansion of YA oncology programs & research.
Ways to make it better...
the survival rates for young adults were improved. Mike would still be involved with the organization if he were alive.
In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...
recognition by the larger medical & oncological community that YA Oncology issues need attention.
One thing I'd also say is that...
I've talked enough. Go check them out and experience for yourself.
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Client Served & Was a fan of and part of the community, participated in the Inaugural Couples Retreat.