Through Sharing Comes Hope.

This past weekend 550 young adult cancer survivors, supporters, caregivers and loved ones gathered in Las Vegas to listen, learn, support, and grow.

Our hope was coupled with fear.

Our strength was coupled with fragility.

Our honesty was coupled with insecurity.

While cancer may have been the reason we were brought together- she was also responsible for tearing us apart.

Are you in treatment?

Are you in remission?

Have you had recurrence?

Are you cured?

We were labeling, categorizing, and inevitably separating each other into manageable groups.

And as we seperated this disease into her many shades of grey- it became apparent that it was the desire to live, the desire to make change, the desire to live in spite of Cancer that united us, that guided us, and instilled a sense of community and hope amongst a sea of strangers.

As we were repeatedly stripped down to our most vulnerable selves, we confronted our darkest fears, and tiptoed into our hopes and dreams.

The same disease that left my body after 2 rounds of chemotherapy, took a brother at the age of 34, and a daughter at the age of 26.

The same disease that brought me strength and clarity, caused others repeated pain, devastation and hardship.

It was one conference but not one voice.

It was one disease but not one outcome.

It was one journey but not one story.

As a young adult cancer survivor it is my hope that we continue to share our stories, continue to share our voice, and continue to give a face to cancer.

Through sharing comes strength, through sharing comes bravery, through sharing comes community, and through sharing comes hope.

I hope you will join me.

When What is Shared and What is Private Becomes Sacred and With Purpose.

51 weeks ago I decided to come out.

I decided that my journey, my fight, my dance with Cancer was too hard for me to carry alone.

And so I reached for you.

And there you were- ready to hold me up, ready to break my fall, ready to encourage me to fight harder.

The desire to share my story in real time, was initially rooted in desperation.  However as my fight continued I started to recognize the power in sharing. Through sharing comes strength, through sharing comes change, through sharing comes real transformation.

There were times when I was silent but I was really screaming. There were times when I was screaming but I wanted to be silent.

Today- what I choose to share and what I choose to keep private is up to me.  Every day I cautiously tiptoe between the choice to scream and the choice to remain silent.

And sometimes I find myself twisting somewhere in between.

As my journey continues, and my life becomes filled with new memories and experiences, I recognize how my relationship with sharing will continue to evolve and change.

What I choose to share and keep private is both sacred and with purpose.

And so as I continue to dance between the public and private, between the screams and silence, I do so with the understanding and gratitude that I am the one leading.