Surviving cancer, the point in time when cancer treatment has ceased, marks a milestone moment in one’s cancer journey. The likely possibility of living beyond treatment is, of course, overwhelmingly positive news for patients and their families. However, the reality of living beyond treatment is not always as promising as one may think. Notions of identity and relationship to others, personal values, and perspectives on life, are often challenged by a cancer diagnosis. In turn, an adjustment to a “new normal” – that is a different way of thinking about oneself in relationship to the world – often takes place.
The Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults offers a variety of supportive programs to guide survivors and their families through, what can be, a challenging experience. Amy Babst, a cancer survivor and committed Ulman participant and volunteer shares her experience on cancer, and how Ulman has benefited her:
“I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkins Lymphoma at age 23 when I was 38 weeks pregnant and just married over 18 months. Getting a cancer diagnosis at anytime is devastating, but bringing a child into the world is supposed to be the happiest time in your life and that experience was completely overshadowed by cancer. So, cancer has impacted almost every aspect of my life.
There are only a few things I am prouder of than being a cancer SURVIVOR ! Being a Wife and Mommy always comes first, but the rigorous year of treatment between chemotherapy and radiation was so mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting. Although times were tough, I always had a beautiful little girl to come home to and keep me moving forward with a positive attitude and outlook. I think that was half the battle! The cancer journey never really ends though. I now have a new “family” and club that I am a part of and it has given me the ability to be able to help others who are going through similar circumstances.
I have been involved in a lot of volunteer work at the UCF including Peer Mentoring, Team Fight, and the Cancer to 5K Program! I wish I would have met the amazing people at the Ulman Cancer Fund earlier on during my treatment, but in retrospect, they came into my life at the perfect time. I really struggled getting back to my new “normal” in life. Having the support of other survivors, UCF Staff and volunteers was and still is instrumental in my survivorship. Things I was feeling and experiencing others were too, and they just got me. I am truly grateful for the opportunities I have been given and I love being able to share my story and give others hope.” – Amy Babst
To get more information on the Ulman Cancer Fund, click here ulmancancerfund.org
~ Written by: Allie Gubin, Program Coordinator, Young Adult Patient Navigation Program at Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center