To friends that I have not yet met and those that I have, but dont know me that well, I would like to tell you a bit about myself and why I'm setting up this group.
My journey started when I was 20 and in my second year of uni - doing a Bc Science at usyd. Life was pretty normal and I loved it: I was living in they city, working at a bar and partying most weekends. After taking a shower one morning (and feeling slightly hungover) I noticed a mole bleeding on my back as I dried myself off with a towel. The skin specialist cut it out later that week and it came back as a melanoma.
Although I was initially worried, I got back on with life and kept going as I had before - just taking a few weeks off rock-climbing to let the wound on my back heal. That was until 5 months later when my girl friend at the time found a lump in my armpit while using me as a practice dummy for a medical exam.
Then the downward spiral began. 4 separate lots of surgery. 6 weeks of radiotherapy. 8 months and 12L of chemotherapy. Throughout this time I withdrew from the world, I lost contact with friends (and lost other friends) and if it wasn't for the staunch support of my (now ex-) girlfriend I would have had almost no social contact.
Having danced (in a bed-bound way) with death and come back to the land of living I now felt I no longer fitted in with my old life. Normally quite out going, I no longer cared for mindless conversation, no longer drank alcohol and no longer had the strength to party until sun up. Some friends I reconnected with, yet now I'm interested in things like our purpose, life, health and serving others (which can be quite boring as party conversations... plus I have little time for fake people)
I craved to connect with others my age (although I have met many amazing older cancer patients/survivors) and to help others on a similar journey with cancer. Even more, I worried for those who aren't as lucky as I was to have a close partner to help them through the worst.
That is my story. This is my intention.
I am creating a support group, and hopefully community, for all young adults who have or are experiencing cancer. I will hold regular meetings in Sydney, occasional social events and hopefully a retreat once a year to allow people to connect with those who understand them and what they're going through. I will aim to create a space where young adults can talk about what's important to them, connect and be empowered.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.