This week, a very interesting couple from California contacted the office.
The couple was a classic victim of the dwindling economy. Two college educated individuals, both lost their jobs and in turn, fell behind in their mortgage payments and found themselves homeless. One day, while getting food at the local soup kitchen, there just happened to be a medical van outside. The woman was suffering a bit of what she thought was sciatia pain. They stopped at the medical van and found out (after a lot of tests) that she had advanced cervical and ovarian cancer. Immediately, fear set in. How were they going to get help? They were jobless and homeless. Luckily, Kaiser Permanente Hospital agreed to treat them pro-bono given their situation. A person who deals with homelessness situations found a way to get them put up, for a few weeks in a local motel. Another individual stepped up and paid for a few more but their time, at the hotel, is coming to an end soon.
This woman is facing 5 weeks of radiation followed by chemo, with no sign of housing in their near future. The amazing thing is that they are not bitter or angry at all. They continue to keep their sense of humor by finding humor in almost every situation that they encounter. They thank the homelessness for finding the cancer. They truly believe, that if they did not end up on the street, they would have never discovered the cancer.
Imerman Angels was able to connect them to an amazing survivor who underwent a similar cancer story. We also referred them to many other resources through our cancer partner organizations, as well as personal connections that Jonny has in California.
This is an amazing example of true grit and determination and the will to live. A testimonial to the great gifts of the universe and seeing the world through rose colored glasses. Life is a beautiful gift, no matter how that gift is wrapped whether it be in fancy, shiny foil wrapping or a plain paper bag.
Happy New Year! We’re kicking off 2010 with a great, busy week! Thus far, we’ve had 34 cancer fighters and 7 caregivers reach out for 1on1 support. We’ve completed 25 pair-up connections this week so far!
The pair-up that I would like to highlight is pretty unique. A 26 year old guy from Washington fighting Hodgkin’s lymphoma reached out looking to connect not only with another Hodgkin’s survivor but someone who was an athlete, specifically, a cyclist. He wanted to chat with someone who got back on the bike while going through treatment. He had some questions about how long they waited, if they were able to ride while on treatment, etc… Well, we found him two great athlete survivors to chat with!
First, I connected him with “Wheels.” I met Wheels (her camp nickname) this past summer at First Descents. She was one of my closest buddies at camp and she lives in Colorado Springs, CO. She’s a Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor, had it while she was in her late 20’s and she’s 30 years old now – doing great, healthy again and finishing up her PhD in psychology. Wheels got her nickname because she’s a huge cyclist. On her time off, she’s also a training coach AND she won a national championship 11 months after her diagnosis.
Next, I connected him with another guy living in NY who had Hodgkin’s when he was 30 years old. He was also an athlete – he played hockey and lifted weights. I thought he could shed some light on his experience with balancing treatment and his sport guy-to-guy.
Needless to say, these were two great connections. We not only pair-up based on age, gender, cancer type and stage level but we also try to specialize the connection based on the needs of the cancer fighter. Perhaps someone is looking for another athlete, or someone who did alternative medicine, or maybe another single mom with kids. We always do our best to meet these needs.
Again, if you and/or someone you know has been touched by cancer – please don’t hesitate to reach out. The first step is to register online from our homepage please click on “GET CONNECTED.” We’d be happy to get you connected to another survivor and/or register you in our network so that you can help mentor-angel someone else who is newly diagnosed.
Wishing all of you a wonderful, healthy year in 2010!
Weekly Pair-Up Spotlight: Thankful for an Angel
This past week, we had an overwhelming number of people reach out for 1-on-1 support. Typically, we see a decline around the holidays due to the fact that most people are with their families and/or traveling and out of town. To our surprise, over 27 new cancer fighters registered online over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend!
A woman living in Chicago was recently diagnosed with stage III colon cancer. She’s 60 years old and her daughter told her all about Imerman Angels! After she registered online, we were able to find her the perfect match in our network! We paired her up with another woman living in Tuscon, AZ who beat stage III colon cancer nearly four years ago! The cancer fighter was so thankful to meet another woman who could help her come up with the appropriate questions to ask her oncologist. She was so overwhelmed when she was diagnosed; her whole world was turned upside down. With the help of her new angel, she’ll get the emotional and peer support that she needs to stay strong during her upcoming fight against colon cancer!
On behalf of everyone at the IA office, we’re very thankful that we were able to provide hope and inspiration to everyone who contacted Imerman Angels this past week!