By: Trevor Bynoe
I was diagnosed with gray-zone lymphoma back in November 2009. I went to the doctor one day to make sure my cough wasn’t the swine flu and instead found out that I had a 10 cm mass in my stomach instead. I learned the hard way that cancer can strike anyone at any time, even a young adult like myself living a pretty healthy lifestyle. I consider myself lucky in that I made it through treatments (chemotherapy) relatively unscathed without most of the nasty side effects that many others face. However, I now have a much better understanding of the physical and mental toll that a cancer diagnosis takes on the patient and his/her friends and family.
I found out about UCF while scouring the web for resources tailored toward young adult cancer patients. I quickly realized during my many hospital visits that it was hard to find others in the waiting room even remotely close to my age. Websites run by organizations like i2y, UCF, Imerman Angels and First Descents gave me comfort in that there were others out there going through what I was experiencing.
I was lucky in that I had a very strong support group around me during my treatment process. While I didn’t become involved with UCF until after my treatment process, I think the organization helps every day by providing hard-to-find resources to young adult patients and their friends/family/caregivers. I enjoy attending the YACS happy hours that UCF organizes on a regular basis and connecting with other individuals that have been affected by young adult cancer. Most of all, I appreciate the organization’s effort to raise awareness of young adult cancer issues in the community and constantly pushing to raise funds for advocacy, research, and support services.
I have attended several YACS Baltimore happy hours and other UCF special events (Blue Jeans Ball, etc.). I’m currently participating in the Cancer to 5K program as a volunteer and race sherpa on race day, and I’m hoping to run an upcoming marathon (location TBD) this year on behalf of Team FIGHT.