Shine Cancer Support is a network for younger adults affected by cancer. It was created Emma who was diagnosed at ‘the wrong age’ with cancer.
There are many ages that are ‘wrong’ for cancer. Of course all ages are ‘wrong’ for cancer and noone should have to be diagnosed, in a perfect world. What I mean is that, for example, when you find a lump in your breast in your teens or 20s, firstly you are told it can’t be cancer as you’re too young. Next it’s hard to find information that doesn’t speak about having cancer after having children, marriage or life in general. Rarely is fertility issues discussed as this isn’t the ‘normal’ checkbox that needs to be ticked for the majority of people diagnosed with cancer. Attending support groups often means you’re the youngest there and the discussions are about their children or grandchildren.
You see, inconveniently you’re too young for the standard cancer care support initiatives and too old for the paediatric care plans.
The isolation is enormous and often continues for many years due to lack of resources or community in which you can freely air concerns or worries.
Shine is an initiative that is attempting to fill this space. It’s run by patients and is intended to be an informal place (online and face-to-face) where people diagnosed with cancer in their 20s, 30s and 40s can meet.
Tonight I attended the first London drinks. There were only 8 of us at this first drinks meet. We met in a busy bar where ‘normal’ people were having an evening out. It wasn’t a ‘support group’ and we didn’t go around and introduce ourselves by name, cancer type and date of diagnosis (the usual introduction!). But we talked. We chatted about life. We chatted about problems we had encountered. We talked about how we overcame them. We talked about our families, about our friends, about our futures. The conversation was light, fun and frivolous…. Hey and we even laughed!!
Truly a great initiative and something to be encouraged. There’s definitely a gap in the care and support for young adults. Find out more and perhaps attend or support them? http://www.shinecancersupport.co.uk