• 20 Years of Memories

    Journeys 2020 marked 13thirty Cancer Connect’s 20th year of making a difference for teens and young adults living with cancer. Journeys is an annual celebration of life where our members and their creativity are featured in a performance that our families and supporters are invited to watch. Though we wish we could have celebrated together in person, this year’s virtual event allowed members living around the country to watch from the comfort of their own homes. The pandemic has challenged us to adapt our programs and events to formats that allow members to safely connect with one another. Our generous sponsors have helped make our continuum of support possible during these uncertain times.

    Journeys 2020 included a performance of the Maroon 5 song, “Memories” sang by 13thirty members. This year’s awards went to Doug Spiker for the Make a Difference Award and Jim Blaesi of Blaesi’s Automotive for the Corporate Salute. Watch the song performance or the full event hosted by Corrie Carter from Polite Ink on our YouTube channel:

    Special Thanks

    memoriesWe owe a special thank you to Anthony Siciliano of Head to the Roots for opening the event with soothing acoustic music.

    If you enjoyed our Sips and Starters packages this year, we can thank Chef’s Catering, Flash Point Customs, Eastway Liquor and Wegmans for their help creating them.

    The “Memories” performance was put together by Matt Sengbusch and Jon Madden.

     

     

  • virtual connections

    Virtual Connections

    Over the past six weeks, 13thirty Cancer Connect has been dedicated to creating virtual connections between both our Rochester and Syracuse AYA members. We know how difficult social distancing is for everyone, especially those who have been in isolation in the past to protect their health. We will continue to try our best at keeping our AYAs in touch and active with virtual programs until social distancing guidelines are updated. Here’s a look back on the month of April’s virtual programs.

    April’s Virtual Programs

    We started out with a check-in “Family Dinner” to see how everyone was doing with making adjustments to the new at-home world. It was a great chance for some of our Rochester and Syracuse members to meet. We tried our first virtual attempt at our group “power clap” tradition and we left room for improvement…

    We caught up with some of our teens with a Family Feud game night with our game show host, Program Director, Steve Esposito. A competitive game between our Rochester and Syracuse teams left the score tight, but Syracuse took the win in the last round!

    Our young adults joined us for a happy hour and game of “guess who” that led to lots of laughs as our members asked twenty questions trying to guess which person or character they were while getting to know each other better.

    virtual connections

    Keeping in mind that gyms are closed, we offered a workout program with our Syracuse trainer, Michelle. Her 13 workouts in 30 minutes was just what we needed!

    Finally, we wrapped up the month with a Netflix Party where we watched The Fundamentals of Caring followed by a Zoom chat to discuss the film that included some special appearances from our members’ pets.

    Hopefully our traditional power clap at the end of programs continues to improve! Check out the May Calendar on both the Rochester and Syracuse program pages. RSVP with Megan or Steve today!

  • alone together

    Alone Together

    Treatment Isolation

    In these recent weeks, we have experienced a world lacking physical contact and social interaction in efforts to stop the spread of the Coronavirus Disease. To keep our communities safe, many non-essential workers have begun to work from home, while others have lost their jobs due to this pandemic. Education has become online-based and fitness centers have closed. The regular things we do to take care of ourselves are less accessible. COVID-19 can feel isolating for those of us at home, but for those currently in treatment, isolation has become a priority for safe treatment.

    When new patients enter into cancer treatment, they are usually greeted with support from the medical team— a team who can provide initial comfort through a hug, a shoulder to cry on, someone to lean on. Cancer patients were also accustomed to bringing a family member to treatment for support, but now they are left feeling alone and scared. Local hospitals have tried to ease this with e-readers for patients to stay active and Zoom meetings between patients and staff to better the patient experience. Read more about their efforts to help patients through these growing challenges of social distancing.

    Virtual Peer Programs

    At 13thirty Cancer Connect, we are committed to our mission to provide peer to peer programming for AYAs living with cancer. We plan to continue hosting weekly peer programs in all of our regular categories: arts, wellness, and social. Instead of using our Rochester and Syracuse Centers, we are hosting programs via Zoom virtual video chats. This way we can safely stay connected and engaged with one another. If you’re in treatment and joining us for the first time, email Megan or Steve to RSVP and get the Zoom meeting information. Remember, we are alone together.

    Share With Us

    What are you doing for self-care during this time?
    Do you have a daily routine that helps you stay in good spirits? Are you looking for suggestions to stay active?

    How are you staying socially engaged with your peers?
    Are you using Zoom and social media to stay in touch? What activities have you done together virtually? Are you looking for peers to connect with? You can join us for our next virtual program whether you’re currently being treated or social distancing at home. Check out our calendar of programs and events.

    What virtual programs would you like to see 13thirty Cancer Connect host?
    Have a movie night suggestion? Maybe you’d like to have a video game competition. Let us know in the blog comments section or connect with us via email today.


    If you need immediate emotional support please use the state resources provided below:

    OMH Emotional Support Helpline: 1-844-863-9314 *
    The Emotional Support Line provides free and confidential support, helping callers experiencing increased anxiety due to the coronavirus emergency. The Help Line is staffed by volunteers, including mental health professionals, who have received training in crisis counseling.

    Check out other New York State mental health resources.