Four Reasons to Become a Mentor Angel

Once the treatments are complete and the life begins to calm down again (as much as it can), cancer survivors and their caregivers are faced with the new challenge of finding comfort in their “new normal.” Survivorship refers to individuals who live with, through and beyond cancer, and at each stage of this journey there are new challenges along the way.

Becoming a Mentor Angel and helping a cancer fighter or caregiver in need is often reported as being just as therapeutic and helpful to the survivor as it is to the person currently facing cancer. Being able to take your own experience and turn it into something positive by helping someone else is invaluable.

If you’ve been putting off becoming a Mentor Angel, or can’t decide if you want to register, here are four reasons to consider becoming a Mentor Angel today and making yourself available as a lifeline to someone in need.

1. Mental health is just as important as physical health.

In recent years, there has been a huge rise in mental health awareness. Erasing the stigma has helped thousands of people talk openly about their struggles with anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. Due to the increased research on mental health and public awareness, we now know that a healthy mind is just as important to our well being as a healthy body. According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent, providing early and adequate psychosocial support can prevent mild forms of distress from developing into acute conditions and can “help people cope better and become reconciled to everyday life […] Psychosocial support can be adapted in particular situations to respond to the psychological and physical needs of the people concerned, by helping them to accept the situation and cope with it.”

You have the ability to be a source of mental and emotional refuge for someone fighting cancer or someone caring for a loved one fighting cancer. You can have an effect on improving their psychological health and, as a result, their overall quality of life. That is a huge impact, and one that not everyone has the ability to make.

2. It is mutually beneficial to find someone who has experienced the same journey you have.

The beauty of a Mentor-Mentee relationship at Imerman Angels is that it is mutually beneficial. Both of you will get to experience having someone in your life who truly knows what it’s like to walk in your shoes. You faced cancer and you beat it, but your experience may have left you feeling isolated and removed. Rosellyn from Connecticut said, “My situation felt so unique and I couldn’t help but feel so alone, but when I found this program I knew I wasn’t. As a college student who is going through cancer treatment, it is hard to find people who truly understand.” Whether you are a college student like Rosellyn, a caregiver for a child with cancer, or simply the only one in your family diagnosed with cancer, Imerman Angels can connect you with someone who can relate. 

3. You have valuable, first-hand knowledge that could be so helpful to someone in need.

Much of a cancer fighter’s or caregiver’s mental distress comes from fear of the unknown. There is fear in undergoing treatment, talking about their feelings, becoming vulnerable and so much more. You are living proof of what it looks like to overcome that fear! You instill so much hope just by being you. Frances from Washington said, “My Angel has given me so much useful information and I am very grateful. It helps me knowing that someone my age FOUGHT and WON the battle with this type of cancer. My angel is a blessing in my life.”

While our Mentor Angels do not give medical advice to Mentees, cancer survivors can provide insight into certain experiences that no one else can relate to: What does chemo feel like? What did you do to stay occupied in the hospital? What’s it like to date after you go through cancer treatment? These are questions that no one but a cancer survivor can answer, and the answers are so valuable to those facing the unknowns of their cancer journey. 

4. You will have the feeling that you have made a difference in the world.

By becoming a Mentor Angel, you can create a ripple effect in the lives that you help. For example, let’s say you’re a breast cancer survivor and you become a Mentor to a mother of two facing the same type of cancer and treatments. You may be a very big reason that woman remains hopeful, positive and supported during one of the most difficult times in her life. Seeing something negative and knowing you have the impact to create something positive in its place is motivation enough. There is a quote from comedian Lily Tomlin, “I thought, somebody should do something about that. Then I realized I am somebody.” 

Visit https://imermanangels.org/give-support/ to get in touch with one of our Cancer Support Specialists and lend your support to be the match for cancer fighters and caregivers.