Monday, March 4, 2013

StupidCancer Adult Cancer Workshop - March 16

The John Theurer Cancer Center is hosting a young adult cancer survivor workshop on Saturday, March 16th. If you're in the area, and part of the club, I hope to see you there!

For details and registration, visit Stupid Cancer Northern New Jersey Young Adult Cancer Workshop

I will be one of the panelists on the Survivorship Panel at 2:15pm, and the below is a short piece I wrote about my expectations for the day, which the cancer center has posted on its CancerPerspectives blog.


Each of us is a cancer fighter; Together we are an army

StupidCancer Northern New Jersey Adult Cancer Workshop – Saturday, March 16 @ John Theurer Cancer Center (Register Now!)

Each of us is a cancer fighter. Together, we are an army. And, just as importantly, we’re a group of friends, who can laugh together and support each other. As young adult fighters / survivors, we face a doozy of a list of cancer complications, which span from mouth sores to reservations about dating to finding a way to pay the bills. It’s not been easy for any of us, but we can make it just a little bit better for each other. I hope you join those of us who’ve already registered for this event.

You may be wondering what to expect. Based on my experience at a StupidCancer conference last fall (for which all slots filled, so register early for this workshop), here’s one vision for how your day may go:

After you register, you’ll have the opportunity to grab free coffee and breakfast (pastries and fruit always taste better when free). You’ll be surrounded by other fighters / survivors that don’t know anyone present, and you’ll quickly discover that “What kind of cancer do you have?” is an icebreaker that’s perfectly acceptable with this crowd. A proud throat cancer survivor may even show you a scar that looks like it should have been the result of a back alley encounter in Gotham City.

Once you’ve made a few friends (or simply checked out the scene if you’re not ready to open up, which is totally fine), you’ll find a seat and listen to Andre Goy, M.D., Chairman and Director of the John Theurer Cancer Center, give the introduction. He was the first doctor to visit my hospital room when I was admitted to the leukemia wing, and he performed my bone marrow biopsy. Even if I didn’t have a soft spot for him, I’d feel confident saying his will be an inspirational speech (I’ve heard him speak at the annual Life & Liberty shindig that JTCC hosts for its patients and their families.).

Matthew Zachary, brain cancer survivor and founder of StupidCancer, will motivate us next. His organization has been a tremendous resource for me, and I encourage you to get involved. After speaking, he’ll perform on a grand piano. I guarantee that hearing sweet melodies from a victor of brain cancer will make me cry, and perhaps you will too. I really hope he plays “Chariots of Fire,” for it seems like the perfect theme song for him, and for our army of fighter / survivors. “The Imperial March” from Star Wars would also work… what do you say, Matt?

For the sessions on “how to deal” and nutrition, be ready to take notes! I filled several pages at similar sessions at the last workshop I attended. The Survivorship Panel will be a great way to get to know some of the fellow members of the young adult cancer club, and it will serve as a chance to hear and share unadulterated views on the issues most important to us.

The sponsors of this event have been working hard to make this a valuable, comfortable experience. They’re even rearranging furniture to create a lounge area to hang out and relax, and the word, “raffle” is always a crowd pleaser. Now it’s our turn to do something for ourselves, and for each other. I hope to see you there. Introduce yourself if you see me: I’m the one without much hair on my head. Oh, that’s you too? I guess we already have something in common.


Shelley Nolden
acute promyelocytic leukemia survivor and John Theurer Cancer Center patient

StupidCancer Young Adult Workshop Event Page: