Last night I had the pleasure of spending a little time with our IA crew after the Annual Spring Fling. Jonny (Imerman) and I got on the topic of 1-on-1 mentor relationships (of course!) and our conversation brought me back to why I joined IA in the first place.
Cancer, illness of any kind, happens to all kinds of people all over the country. Many have come to IA and have shared their story with us, showing me the ways that families, friends and communities can come together for a person in a big way when they least expect it. I have posted a few in our “Survivor Stories”.
On the same note, there are people fighting cancer who may be, or feel, completely alone.
IA empowers fighters, raises cancer awareness, makes it okay to “talk about it”- but most of all, IA gives ANYONE the opportunity to have at least one person in the world who cares about the fact that they are sick, wants to hear about their fears and is genuinely ecstatic to hear about their specific victory. The more I think about it in practice, the more I realize the potential impact that could have to one person.
A close friend of mine, one of the most supportive people I know, was recently paired up in a 1-on-1 relationship and shared with me how concerned she was about her Fighter Angel- someone she had just met. It reminded me of how many good people are out there, potential great friends, who are ready to be there for a stranger if given the chance.
The goal of IA is to ensure that no one fights cancer alone and that someday, within 24 hours of diagnosis, anyone diagnosed with cancer can be connected in a 1-on-1 support relationship. Jonny reminded me that there are millions of survivors, but only about a million fighters diagnosed each year. That means that there are more than enough people in the world who have beaten cancer and are ready and able to support someone else through their journey.
I was joking to Jonny that my friends and coworkers have heard me talk on and on about our mission, and we were joking about his standard uniform of an IA tshirt. We realized that the reason we do these things is because we know that every person we meet, or sees something about Imerman Angels, can bring us to one more person who may reach out and be connected as a mentor or fighter.
Maybe we can’t cure cancer, but I think someday we can cure fighting cancer alone.