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Does the American Cancer Society care about young adults with cancer?

Posted Oct 16 2008 7:12pm

Editor’s Note: The following post was written by a fellow young adult cancer survivor named, Jack Bouffard.

“I wanted to share a rant I posted on the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Survivor Network message board. Over the last few days I have left numerous responses to young adults who are going through cancer treatments. Each of these posters were scared, alone and were looking for someone who could relate to their situation. Many of them stated they were in college and their friends didn’t understand how hard life had gotten for them. My response to these posts basically told them I was available to reach out to through Facebook or email and gave them a heads up about young adult support organizations like Planet Cancer, I’m Too Young For This, Fertile Hope, Seventy K and others. Turns out my postings were removed from the site, so I proceeded to post the message below on each of the CSN young adult forums.”

Hello. My name is Jack Bouffard and I am from Danbury, CT. I’m 33 years old and was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma in January of this year which, as you can imagine, was devastating news to me. I reached out to many different organizations inquiring about what systems they had in place to support the young adult cancer community. Sadly, there weren’t too many available. Then I found the I’m Too Young For This Cancer Foundation, or I2Y for short. I2Y is a team player along with Planet Cancer, Fertile Hope and Seventy K that advocate on behalf of young adults affected by cancer. Among these groups, I2Y was a tremendous resource for me during my treatment and continues to help me along my journey as a survivor.

I regret I didn’t find these groups sooner because when I was in treatment the only support group afforded to me was a group of women in their fifties and sixties making me the only guy in the group and the youngest by 20-30 years. The first I2Y event I attended was their OMG Summit for Young Adults in NYC. I found myself in a crowd of a hundred survivors in their twenties and thirties, people I could relate to, who were going through the same cancer crapness I was. Since that event I have attended Stupid Cancer Happy Hours, the Stupid Cancer Comedy Show and regularly tune into the Stupid Cancer Radio Show. All of these services promote the young adult cancer community and are a great way for those who are going through treatment to get together with survivors their age.

That being said, I have reached out to many of the young adults who have posted their stories on these Cancer Survivors Network message boards. These future survivors are going through what I’m sure is the toughest battle of their young lives and are looking for people like them to reach out to. I responded to about five of the threads in the Young Adult Survivors forum, telling these fighters they aren’t alone, I went through the same thing they are going though and how I’m Too Young For This helped me get through my horrible year.

I posted my contact info and let them know I could be reached through email and on Facebook 24/7. I also listed a brief summary of who I2Y is and what they offer, giving those in need an idea of how this resource could help them. I learned this morning that all but two of my postings have been taken down and I want to know why. I have the impression that the moderators of this website are not open to anyone posting support services that exist outside of the American Cancer Society. If this is the case, it represents incorrigible behavior on the part of the world’s wealthiest cancer organization. My intentions were to end isolation for these young survivors and make them aware of collaborative support services that are not necessarily supported by the ACS.

Planet Cancer, I2Y, SeventyK, Fertile Hope and many others are highly beneficial to this demographic and these young adults have the right to be supported age appropriately.

In closing, it is my hope the moderators of this forum acknowledge the value this post brings. I have no agenda. I do not work for these organizations. I just want these survivors to have the access to the same resources I wish I had when I started my cancer battle. Should the moderators of Cancer Survivors Network do take this post down, I will see it as an indication that the American Cancer Society does not support the young adult cancer community and I will take this human interest story to the media.

Should there be any question as to the validity of my personal experience as a young adult survivor, it would be my pleasure to send you my scans. Thank you for your attention to this matter. If you have any further questions or would like to reach out to me for support please email me.

jack.bouffard[at]yahoo.com
http://www.seventyk.org
http://www.imtooyoungforthis.org”
http://www.planetcancer.org
http://www.fertilehope.org

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