When cancer bombards its way into your life you automatically become a member of the club no one wants to join. It’s devastating to learn that a loved one has been diagnosed and the emotions one feels when diagnosed themselves is indescribable. For a long time I felt an extreme sense of loneliness after being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. I felt misunderstood, betrayed, broken, and especially worried about my future, since I was only 20 years old. But what helped me cope through treatment and continues in my years as a survivor; is the young adult camps, conferences, retreats and summits, that brought me face to face with people facing circumstances that were just as unique as my own. I no longer felt like I was the only person my age dealing with these problems, but moreover I felt my age again.
Camps aren’t just about expressing feelings and overcoming struggles, they are also a chance to just be yourself and not a cancer patient. They are a chance to escape the war zone. When I go on retreats or to conferences I’m less self-conscious because I know everyone understands. It isn’t about acting like nothing is wrong or being someone else for a day or a week; camps enhance who you already are or the “new you” after cancer, and help you to find love and strength amidst cancer through the help of people who understand you. So no, this isn’t the best club to be a part of, but it’s good to know you aren’t the only one and that there are people out there who understand and want to help make this unique journey a little easier if you let them. I urge anyone who has been affected by cancer to give camps and retreats a try because I know without a doubt it will make a positive impact on their life.