Two years ago, as we were planning Young Adult Night at The Ranger Game, we had no idea of the impact that it would have on a young cancer survivor named Megan. The night came and Megan arrived with her hair in braids and a smile on her face, ready to meet other cancer patients her age. Megan had experienced a cancer diagnosis twice in her young life, once as a 12 year old and again at 26. Although cancer is devastating at any age, she said the second round, as a young adult, was much worse because she felt she was fighting alone. It wasn’t that her parents were not supportive, they were, but they lived a few hours away. She had established independence and then had suddenly been hit with waves of health, financial, career and relationship setbacks that affect all young adult cancer patients. “It was overwhelming! I didn’t know what to do about all the bills and paperwork that were arriving every day in the mail. I was just trying to survive my cancer! I was still a kid in my mind!”
Alone in a new city with cancer, Megan made it through, but when she received an invitation to attend Rutledge Foundation’s Young Adult Night at at the Ranger Game, she was excited. She decided to go and see if she could meet other young adults who understood the path she was on. That night, in the seat next to hers, was a young lady named Candice. Candice was a survivor too! They shared their stories and a friendship started. “I wish Rutledge Foundation and FWAYA had existed when I was battling, but I’m glad to know they exist today. I’m glad I went that night to the Ranger game. I can’t imagine my life without Candice and the friendship we have!”
Almost three years after that Ranger game, we met Megan again, this time in a meeting at Cancer Care Services, planning Camp Gold, a retreat for young adults with cancer. Megan was introduced as their new Client Connection Manager. “I have found my purpose”, she said, “helping others find the resources they need to win their battle against cancer. I couldn’t be happier!” When we asked for suggestions for speakers, Megan said, “You have to have my best friend Candice! She is amazing!” Candice came and spoke about how healthy food choices can impact cancer. We are thankful for Megan and Candice, who have chosen to use their cancer experience to bless others. We hope many others will attend our events and find lifelong friends and encouragement.