• Refocus the Lens

    In August, we introduced a new expressive arts series, Refocus the Lens.  Members of 13thirty Cancer Connect submitted a photo that reminded them of the time when they were diagnosed with cancer. Some photos reflected one of the last moments when cancer was not on their minds.  They may have been going off to college….

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    Lucas, 21

    …or striking a pose as a dance major…

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    Kara, 19

    …or just being a teen hanging out with your friends.

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    Alyssa, 19

    For others, the photos represented the shock of diagnosis, or the interruption of life. Erma (17) was enjoying her senior year of high school when finding out she would need months of inpatient treatment.

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    Riley (21) beat cancer once and was a photography major in college upon being diagnosed once again.

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    See more of Riley’s work on Facebook at Riley Murray.

    Being an adolescent or young adult (AYA) is already a difficult time, without adding cancer to the mix. AYAs with cancer face challenges specific to this age with regard to social connections, independence, appearance changes, and school or career goals. At 13thirty Cancer connect, our members know what it’s like to cope with these unique challenges and they find support in one another. In this time of COVID-19, connecting remotely poses a new set of challenges but sharing the experience of AYA cancer with others who understand helps to break those barriers.

    Join us on September 21st, 2020 at 6:30 EDT on Zoom for the second program in the Refocus the Lens series when we will share photos reflecting treatment.


  • 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.