Our program that connects cancer patients, caregivers and survivors through one-on-one support has a new name. But the mission and motto remain the same: "Sometimes the best help comes from someone who's been there."
Formerly known as Anderson Network, a program of volunteer services, myCancerConnection pairs cancer patients, survivors and caregivers with trained volunteers who've had the same or similar diagnosis, treatment or experience. This one-on-one support program gives cancer patients someone to talk to throughout their cancer journey.
We recently asked a few myCancerConnection volunteers why our one-on-one program is important to them. Here's what they said.
myCancerConnection brings cancer patients hope and understanding.
"I signed up to volunteer because I was so grateful for the individuals that spoke to me upon my diagnosis. It was so comforting to talk with someone who had been through it. It helped dissipate the fear. I love that someone can call myCancerConnection and get matched by diagnosis. I never know exactly what someone wants to hear or where they are with what they are going through. But I always find it's hope and understanding that become the common ground." -- Lou Russell, colon cancer survivor
Talking to others gave me strength and hope.
"Just knowing there was someone to talk to that knew exactly what I was going through gave me that extra strength and hope I needed to get through the rough times. I will always be thankful for MD Anderson's staff and that one volunteer who took the time to reach out to me." -- Stacie Strebeck, breast cancer survivor
The volunteers allowed me to talk about cancer in an open, honest way.
"I volunteered because myCancerConnection helped me so much after my diagnosis. I was able to talk to someone who had my same kind of cancer, and had been through the same treatments and survived. I had many questions that only the ladies I talked to could answer. There is nothing that compares to speaking to someone who has been diagnosed with your kind of cancer and survived it. Nothing. You can't understand unless you have been there and walked that road.
Talking to someone who has been there is invaluable. You can ask questions that you can't ask anyone else and discuss side effects and personal, even embarrassing, things related to cancer in an honest, open way. It was comforting to me and helped me immensely." -- Jami Mayberry, vulvar cancer survivor
I can help ease cancer patients' fears.
"When we think about the future after the type of surgery I had, we tend to imagine the worst. But I still play golf, ride horses, chase cows, chase my grandkids. If I can walk in a room looking normal, it helps put people's fears at ease."-- Marshall Loosier, rectal cancer survivor and a myCancerConnection volunteer who provides support for MD Anderson inpatients who've had an ostomy
The one-on-one support gave me the chance to be honest.
"For months, I thought everyone who received my diagnosis died quickly. It added to the stress and loneliness I felt in my battle with a rare cancer. Cancer patients often do not feel like they can be completely honest with friends and family members about their emotions and fears. Speaking with someone who has been through something similar gives them the freedom to speak their mind without the fear of being misunderstood or making others uncomfortable." -- Marissa Henley, angiosarcoma of the breast survivor
I don't want other cancer patients and caregivers to feel alone.
"When my fiancée Rebecca was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2001, we didn't know where to go, who to turn to, what resources were available, nothing! I vowed from that moment forward that I wouldn't let this happen to anyone else."-- Robert Marraro, ovarian cancer caregiver
myCancerConnection is always looking for survivors and caregivers who are willing to share their cancer experiences with other patients and caregivers. You can volunteer by phone from anywhere. myCancerConnection is a program of Volunteer Services.