Frequently Asked Questions
Does information entered by cancer fighters, survivors, previvors and caregivers remain confidential?
Yes. All the information entered is secure and is never shared with anyone outside of the matching process.
Are any connections between Mentor Angels and people requesting support made completely automated online?
No, instead one of our Cancer Support Specialists is personally involved with every single match, assessing the needs of those seeking support, in order to ensure the highest quality of personal service.
What communication methods do Mentor Angels and Mentees use?
Together they decide how they would like to keep in touch in a way that is convenient for the cancer fighter, previvor or caregiver requesting support. Some examples include: telephone, e-mail, video chat, instant messaging, social media, meeting face-to-face, etc.
How often do Mentor Angels and Mentees communicate?
Each matched pair determines the frequency and duration of their contact and is generally guided by the needs of the support seeker. Some pairs speak regularly and have even traveled great distances to meet in person. Other matched pairs require less contact. Sometimes all that is needed is one phone call – and that’s fine, as long as the Mentee’s needs are met.
How are connected Mentees and Mentor Angels monitored? Is there a follow up?
We send follow-up surveys to matched Mentees and Mentor Angels one month and six months after a match is made to verify that the connection was successful.
Do they need to live in the same city?
Not at all. Matched pairs could be living anywhere, as long as they are able to communicate in a way that works for the Mentee (e-mail, phone, video chat, instant messaging, social media, in person, etc). A Mentee can also indicate a preference for finding a local match and we will do our best to meet their needs if possible.
What happens if the connection between the Mentor Angel and Mentee doesn’t work for whatever reason?
The Mentee and/or Mentor Angel are requested to contact one of our Cancer Support Specialists to help find a supportive and positive solution.
Does Imerman Angels give medical advice?
Never. All of our Mentor Angels, staff and volunteers are trained never to give medical advice or to try and diagnose a medical problem.
Does Imerman Angels help people with illnesses that aren’t cancer?
In order to ensure the highest quality of service and mission fulfillment, we are dedicated to helping cancer fighters, survivors, previvors and caregivers. We provide limited connections for some benign/pre-cancerous conditions that are treated the same way as a cancer. For someone facing another illness, a referral can be made to one of our partner organizations.
How much does it cost to use the Imerman Angels services?
All our services are free. We are committed to ensuring that no one faces cancer alone.
What age group does Imerman Angels serve?
Anyone at any age, including children, can be matched with a Mentor Angel. Individuals 17 and younger will need parental consent and typically also involves connecting a parent or guardian. We also match cancer caregivers (example: parents of a child cancer fighter or children of an older cancer fighter).
Which cancer types are represented?
Every cancer category is represented in our database of thousands of cancer survivors. If we are unable to find an appropriate match within our database, we reach out to our cancer partners and/or find a similar match.
How does Imerman Angels find cancer fighters, survivors, previvors and caregivers?
We use every reasonable resource to conduct outreach to cancer fighters, survivors, previvors and caregivers. We are always looking for more ways to connect with people in need. If you have a suggestion, please contact us.
Some examples include: referrals from the medical community or cancer partner organizations; word of mouth; media; social media; speeches; and events.
Why does Imerman Angels host events?
All of our services are provided completely free of charge to ensure that no one has to fight cancer alone. Events help ensure that this service will always remain free and available to those in need: cancer fighters, previvors, survivors and caregivers.
What are funds and donations to Imerman Angels used for?
Donations directly help us accomplish the mission. Funds help us hire and train Cancer Support Specialists, conduct outreach to cancer fighters, survivors, previvors and caregivers, and build tools and resources that make one-on-one cancer support more effective and efficient.
Does Imerman Angels provide referrals to other resources?
Imerman Angels only provides referrals to free services like other cancer organizations that provide information or free services (financial, legal, etc). We do not provide referrals to any paid services like hospitals, doctors, or products for sale.
Is it really free for anyone to have a Mentor Angel?
Yes! Imerman Angels is completely free of cost.
How does the Mentor Angel matching process work?
Real people find your match. We will ask you questions about your life, background and cancer experience and personally connect you with a Mentor Angel whose story mirrors yours.
How are potential Mentor Angels screened and trained?
All potential Mentor Angels register online or by phone, and complete a profile about their personal experience with cancer or genetic mutation. This profile contains more than forty comprehensive criteria including demographic information, cancer history, and treatment history. This personalized process is intended to provide the flexibility to accept potential Mentor Angels on a case-by-case basis from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.
Once fully registered, applicants complete an online tutorial, guiding Mentor Angels to nurture a supportive, encouraging and friendly mentorship with a cancer fighter, previvor or caregiver without ever dispensing medical advice. When a match is found, one of our Cancer Support Specialists will contact the Mentor Angel for a personal assessment before the match is finalized.
What kind of activities and communication are involved?
That’s up to the Mentor Angel and Support Seeker! We’ve seen many beautiful bonds evolve from peer-to-peer support.
How long does it take for someone to get connected to a Mentor Angel?
All cancer fighters, survivors, previvors or caregivers requesting support are asked to register and schedule an intake phone call with one of our Cancer Support Specialists online. Once this is completed our team goes to work. Each Support Seeker’s request is unique and varies in the length of time it takes to connect them to their perfect Mentor Angel. We typically expect the process to take one to five business days however we will reach out if there is a delay.
What happens if Imerman Angels can’t find a match for a certain cancer?
We have the world’s largest database of cancer survivors dedicated to providing one-on-one cancer support. Occasionally, an appropriate match can’t be found internally. In those instances, we reach out to our network of cancer partner organizations to find a match.
Can a Mentee be matched with more than one Mentor Angel?
Absolutely. Each person’s cancer experience is different and sometimes it is helpful to benefit from the support of a couple different Mentor Angels.
How does Imerman Angels ensure that Mentor Angels don’t give medical advice?
Our training materials ensure each Mentor Angel agrees to our Terms and Conditions and is properly trained before being connected with someone in need.
Is Imerman Angels able to help any cancer fighter in the world?
Yes. We are available to any cancer fighter, survivor, previvor or caregiver of any gender, facing any type of cancer, at any stage level, living anywhere in the world. We welcome anyone at any point in their cancer experience!
Our headquarters is located in Chicago and contains a small group of dedicated staff, hundreds of passionate volunteers, and the world’s largest database of thousands of cancer survivors dedicated to providing one-on-one cancer support. All of our Cancer Support Specialists are survivors and caregivers and can empathize and relate to the unique needs of people looking for support.
What sorts of questions do Mentees (cancer fighters, previvors and caregivers) ask their Mentor Angels? What issues are discussed?
The relationship between a Mentee and a Mentor Angel is a natural, friendly mentorship that is supportive in nature. Mentor Angels never dispense any medical advice or try to diagnose a medical problem.
Conversation topics might include: pain issues; what treatments and side effects feel like; experience navigating the medical system; support from family and friends; relationships, dating, sex, fertility, children; tips like how eating lemon-flavored candy can neutralize the metallic chemo taste in your mouth; life issues that surround dealing with cancer; diet and exercise.
Can I still apply if I have special needs or a disability?
If you need special assistance, please contact us and we will work with you to get you the support you need.
Can Imerman Angels help the friends and family of cancer fighters?
Yes! Under our caregiver program anyone (parents, siblings, children or friends of a cancer fighter) can request the support of a Mentor Angel (who was a cancer caregiver).
I’m not ready to request an Mentor Angel yet, but how can I stay up-to-date with Imerman Angels?
You can join our mailing list and follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We update often, so keep in touch!
I’m a healthcare provider – how can I inquire about availability for Mentor Angels on a patient’s behalf?
If you have any questions about our availability for a match or any details about matching, please contact us.
What happens if a Mentor Angel relapses while they’re paired with a support seeker?
Our Mentor Angels are trained to contact one of our Cancer Support Specialists if there’s ever an extenuating circumstance of any kind. The Cancer Support Specialist helps find a supportive and positive solution.
How much time is needed after being declared cancer free before a survivor is ready to be a Mentor Angel?
Everyone’s cancer experience is unique. That’s why we work on a case-by-case basis with each cancer fighter, survivor and caregiver.
How do I know I'm ready to become a Mentor Angel?
If you are a former Support Seeker and you’re ready to give back to the community, you might be ready to be a Mentor Angel! You can always reach out with any questions to learn more.
What are the general commitments for a Mentor Angel?
Each Mentor Angel completes a profile detailing their personal experience with cancer. More than 40 comprehensive criteria are detailed including demographic information, cancer history and treatment. All of your information is kept confidential and is never shared with anyone except the person you agree to support.
Each applicant works with a staff member of Imerman Angels to get screened and trained. Mentor Angels remain in the matching database and will be contacted when a cancer fighter or caregiver seeking support registers for a match. Once you are matched, each relationship is totally unique and builds on honest communication between you and your Support Seeker.
What kind of activities and communication are involved?
Together Mentors and Mentees decide how they would like to keep in touch in a way that is convenient and comfortable. Some examples include: telephone, e-mail, video chat, instant messaging, social media, meeting face-to-face, etc. Starting with these forms of communication every relationship grows in its own unique way, always based on the values of building long-term relationships based on empathy and compassion.