Guest post by Thea Linscott of Stupid Cancer.
Young adult cancer patients face a number of challenges when faced with the big C. One that may be the greatest challenge is isolation.
A cancer diagnosis moves you away from your peers, co-workers, family and friends. It places you on a barrier island with chemotherapy, radiation, hair loss, pain and loss swarming around, waiting for a moment of weakness to take over.
Stupid Cancer is a non-profit organization that empowers those affected by young adult (15 – 39 years old) cancer through innovative and award-winning programs and services. As the nation’s premier patient advocate for this underserved population and serve as a bullhorn for the young adult cancer movement. The charter is to ensure that no one goes unaware of the age-appropriate support resources they are entitled to so they can get busy living. These services are built to connect the young adult to a network of support.
"When I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 26 years old, my doctor may have cured me but meeting others who had already ‘been there and done that’ is what truly saved my life.” ~ Jennifer
Young adults, a largely unknown group in the war on cancer, account for 72,000 new diagnosis each year. That’s one every eight minutes. It’s also seven times more than all pediatric cancers combined. And yet, these young adults, regardless of the amount of support they have, feel isolated and on their own.
“I have heard New York described as a lonely place. It’s irony at its finest - someone being lonely in the most populated city in the US. Being a cancer patient follows similar irony. You are constantly surrounded by people and support, but it can be extremely lonely.” ~ Briel
The Institute of Medicine has found that lack of peer support can be a barrier to better outcomes for cancer patients. Connecting with someone who has already walked in your shoes can be a bridge to positive thinking, community, resources and much needed support.
“When I was diagnosed, I was told I had six months to live. I felt like I was the only person in the entire world that was hearing those words. Thank goodness they were wrong.” ~ Matthew
In the next chapter of Stupid Cancer, there will be a mobile health app to connect the young adult cancer patient with people just like them. The app to end isolation.
Stupid Cancer has launched a crowdfunding campaign with WeDidIt, a crowdfunding platform that enables non-profits to fundraise more efficiently.
Instapeer is a revolutionary mobile health app that brings 1-on-1 peer connection into the 21st century for 20 million Americans affected by young adult cancer. The app will use modern technology to connect those impacted by young adult cancer.
Research has found most millennials are not availing themselves - and therefore not benefiting from - today’s peer matching solutions, which are outdated, call center-based and not in sync with the way this generation socially engages. Instapeer will meet the underserved needs of millennial patients, survivors and caregivers on their terms and their turf with technology they already use and understand.
Stupid Cancer anticipates over 500,000 users adopting Instapeer by 2016. Visit http://instapeer.org for more information.
Thea Linscott is a 15-year cancer survivor serves on the board of directors for Stupid Cancer.