Many young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer feel alone. Even for those with supportive families and friends, there’s sometimes a longing to connect with women who “get it.” To help alleviate this isolation, Young Survival Coalition will host the 2015 national summit and regional symposiums to address the concerns and unique issues young women face.
Melanie was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer in 2011 when she was 30 years old. To her dismay, she didn’t receive a lot of support from her loved ones and no one accompanied her to chemotherapy treatments. “I removed myself from a lot of people,” she says. “I became more of an isolated person because I felt like I wasn’t getting any help.“ Unable to find other young survivors in her city, Melanie felt it was important that she attend C4YW so she could meet other women she could relate to physically, mentally and emotionally.
When LaMonica was diagnosed with DCIS in 2012 at the age of 37, she was able to cope with her diagnosis because her family supported her and they often prayed together. Although LaMonica attended support groups, she wanted to ask questions but she kept to herself. “I just really went to listen,” she says. “There was no one African American in my age group that I could relate to.” Instead, she conducted research to educate and encourage herself. She decided to attend C4YW to establish some “sister connections” with other young women.
During the C4YW Conference in February 2014, which took place in Orlando, FL, breast cancer survivors Melanie from Nashville, TN and LaMonica from Akron, OH began their budding friendship.
Both women look forward to the possibility of connecting in person during the #YSC2015 Summit in Houston, TX in March 6-8, 2015.
While waiting for the shuttle bus to take them from the airport to the conference hotel, Melanie and LaMonica started talking and realized they had a lot in common. “We just clicked. It was like we were friends forever,” recalls Melanie.
LaMonica was relieved to meet Melanie because she was visiting a new city. “I just felt really comfortable. I was able to finally connect with somebody who experienced breast cancer as a single mother.”
Upon arriving at the conference, LaMonica and Melanie were amazed by the hundreds of other young women they encountered.
“I already felt that breast cancer patients or survivors are already in their own little world. I had visited a different type of world,” says Melanie.
Both women were empowered by the speakers, workshops, resources and the testimonials of other survivors at the conference.
“It was good to hear how other women overcame with work and family and kids. How they coped and what they did to get through it,“ said LaMonica.
Upon returning home from the conference, Melanie and LaMonica communicate with each other often usually through text messages. They share information about resources they’ve found and they discuss how they’re relating in their daily lives. In June, they both attended the Cancer and Careers Conference in New York City of which YSC is a community partner. This was another great opportunity for them to gain more knowledge and spend time together. Melanie feels that LaMonica is the support that she needs to help her along her breast cancer journey: “She is a sweet person, a wonderful individual,” she said. “We have a bond that’s unbreakable.”