30 Acts of Kindness: Task 2, Become a Cancer Mentor

During February, I’m celebrating my 30th Birthday with 30 Acts of Kindness suggested by readers
The point of these posts isn’t to “brag” about what I’ve been doing,
but rather to raise awareness about different organizations in Prince
William County and share how you and your family can get involved in
making our area a better place to live.  If you’d like to join me in any
of my assignments, or if you participate in one on your own, I’d love
to get your picture and/or story to share!! I’d love to think this is
making a difference, and I hope that you’ll join me!  

I’m not sure I’m any kind of authority on how to have cancer.  In fact, the type of brain tumor I had, which is called an Ependymoma, may actually be or not be cancer depending on who you ask.  My health insurance, for example, seems to think I’m peachy-keen and don’t need MRIs to check for regrowth.  My oncologist (that’s a cancer doctor) and radiation oncologist (that’s a cancer doctor with lasers) both say the mass in my brain that tried to kill me is probably coming back to try again.  

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

Anyway, since some cancer centers classify ependymomas as cancer and others don’t, I was actually really nervous about this task, suggested by Meaghan H., because I could see myself being really devistated if I reached out to an organization and they told me I wasn’t “cancery” enough.  

We make up adjectives here on PwcMoms.  It’s okay. 

 Anyhow, there are a few organizations out there designed to help people facing a health crisis by connecting them with survivors.  Tell us about it Beyonce!

Not really, that’s actually her singing “Survivor” to a girl with brain cancer….but it’s a good Kleenex moment.

Two organizations that I’d like to mention are Immerman Angels, which is the group that I registered through, and  What Next.

Both of these groups are designed to offer patient to former-patient connection to help make decision making easier, or just to let people know they’re not alone in what they’re going through.  While all the healthy people that rally around you are incredible, sometimes they just don’t understand (and you hope they never have to) what you’re actually dealing with.  People tell me all the time that I seem so healthy and energetic they’d never guess I was sick- which is what I want them to think, but it’s a lie because I don’t want people to see me struggle or complain, and I think a lot of us do that in our lives, no matter what we’re struggling with.  That’s why it’s so beneficial to link people up who can take off the mask and be real with each other to offer support through shared experience. 

This assignment took me about 15 minutes total.  I filled out the volunteer form and got a call from a coordinator who asked me a few questions and explained that I could be matched with someone tomorrow or in two years, so to just hang tight.

If you’ve gone through a tough experience, whether it’s cancer, domestic violence, loss of a loved one, or anything else at all, I hope you’ll take this as an invitation to reach out and let your experience help someone else cope.  Showing there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for someone else’s journey can be a tremendous thing.  

Thanks for the idea, Meaghan!! 

(If you participate in my 30 Acts of Kindness by doing one of the activities, or one of your own, shoot me an email or send me a picture to share!! You don’t have to do all 30 things with me, just one act of kindness makes a huge difference in the world!)