Voices of Hodgkin’s Blog
Voices of Hodgkin’s Blog
Voices of Hodgkin’s Blog

Five Ways to Make a Difference as a Cancer Survivor

If our conference has inspired you to DO something, there are several ways that you can use your cancer experience and your voice to make a difference. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Become a cancer survivorship advocate: There are many ways to get involved with cancer advocacy, but one of the best ways is to become a member of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS). Shelley Fuld Nasso, Executive Director of NCCS was one of our conference speakers, and Susie Leigh RN, BSN (retired), who was one of our honorees, was a founding member of NCCS. This organization offers a number of opportunities for cancer survivors to become engaged in what we promise will be a rewarding experience.
  2. Write, call, and visit your state representatives: Tell them your story! Let them know how your experience with Hodgkin’s has affected you- physically, emotionally, financially, and in any way that you think it might be important for them to hear. Ask them to support legislation that would make a difference in the quality of your life. (NCCS is a good resource for what is happening on the legislative level). They are there to serve you, so speak up!
  3. Become a volunteer: Sometimes people find that the best way to heal and to feel empowered is to give to others. “Giving back, ” or “paying it forward,” are tried and true methods of making a difference as a cancer survivor. There are many ways of doing this, from helping a survivor who is currently in treatment with transportation or meals, to checking in with a phone call. You know what it feels like to go through what they are going through. Let them know that you understand. And remember, not everyone is comfortable asking for help, so saying, “Let me know if you need anything” may not be enough. You may just need to show up – even if it’s simply with a hug. Larger organizations, like the American Cancer Society and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society are always looking for volunteers. Your local community may have its own list of volunteer opportunities that are specific to cancer survivors.
  4. Tell your story: Every cancer survivor has an inspiring story to tell. As soon as you hear the words, “You have cancer,” you’ve got plenty to say. So say it. Write it down. Make it your own. Share it with others. You never know who might be helped by hearing your story.
  5. Donate: There are thousands of organizations, institutions, and nonprofits who work tirelessly to improve the lives of cancer survivors, whether via cancer research, treatment, follow-up care, or a combination of all three. Some are well-funded, but many are not. Consider, as a survivor, what you can do to contribute- even if it seems trivial. It never is.This is just a short list of how you can make a difference in the lives of your fellow Hodgkin’s survivors. If you are willing, and able, find something that you can give your heart to and go for it. You won’t regret it.