A cancer diagnosis is difficult at any age. But if you’re a young adult, your journey will bring about some unique challenges. Think of the life choices made during your teens and twenties. From education and work to the myriad of lifestyle choices, young adults are busy making decisions that will affect the rest of their lives. Put yourself in their shoes. One day, you will find yourself in a doctor’s office and you’ve just heard the words, “you have cancer.” Everything you once thought important is suddenly shuddered from focus. Instead, you’re thinking about your cancer, treatment and the ways in which your life will never be the same
Challenges unique to young adults can include:
• Maintaining independence
• Living far from your family
• Peer support and privacy
• Dating, intimacy and fertility
• Maintaining self-esteem and a feeling of normalcy
• Maintaining side effects with a busy life
It’s anything but easy. That’s why we developed A Bump in the Road, our one-on-one peer mentoring program that connects patients with a survivor mentor. This careful pairing is based on similarities in cancer, life experience and personality. The connection allows the duo to share experiences, discuss strategies, explore resources and address challenges together.
We’re proud of our A Bump in the Road program because of the kinship it creates and the work it does to minimize the impact of this bump on the road of life.
A Bump in the Road consists of four core components.
1. Quarterly Meet-Ups
New patients have an opportunity to meet mentors in a social setting, helping to develop an initial connection. Meet-Ups occur quarterly at a variety of locations including restaurants, coffee shops, bowling alleys and other recreational sites.
2. A New Direction (LIVESTRONG at The Y)
Patients, mentors and members of the inner circle develop their mind, boy and spirit through this new program at the Y, developed especially for A Bump in the Road. Maintaining physical and emotional health while undergoing therapy can be a tall order, even for a patient’s inner circle. LIVESTRONG certified trainers are specifically paired with participants for one-on-one or small group training. A New Direction helps to minimize the impact of treatment, strengthen resolve and inspire healing.
3. Patient/Survivor Interactions
We offer patients and mentors opportunities to build their kinship through experiences such as sporting events, concerts, dinners, movies and more. Mentors submit requests for approval, and follow-up with receipts for reimbursement.
4. Scholarships for Survivors
We are proud to distribute two scholarships to cancer survivors each year. Both the Hope Lives Foundation Scholarship and the Derrick Kroll Memorial Scholarship are given in the amount of $1,000 to a school of the recipient’s choice.