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As a Survivor, Consider Becoming a Mentor for Someone with Cancer

When people experience major life changes, they often want to talk with someone who’s gone through something similar. Connecting with someone else who can relate and provide guidance can provide tremendous feelings of support and comfort. Knowing that the person isn’t going through a life-altering experience alone can help them come through the experience with much better outcomes than if they remained solo along their journey. This is why it’s so important for people who survived cancer to think about becoming mentors those battling the disease.

If you are a cancer survivor, here are some reasons to consider becoming a mentor for someone who has the same type of cancer you did. One-on-one support is vital during an overwhelming diagnosis with cancer. Whereas medical professionals can take care of a person’s physical needs, you can help with their psychological and emotional needs. Providing empathy from firsthand experience lets you assist someone else facing tough questions and unknowns just as you had to. As a mentor, you can provide this person with

information, compassion, and hope.

Talking with someone who’s “been there” can provide a world of good. Although medical professionals can provide facts and scientifically based opinions on cancer-related issues, many cannot relate to what their patients are experiencing. Although everyone’s journey with cancer is different, there may be similarities between your experience and what someone else with a similar type of cancer is experiencing. Perhaps you experienced a rare, lesser known side effect of treatment and happen to come across someone else who’s experiencing a similar side effect. As a mentor, you can provide help and hope that this person otherwise might not have.

Becoming a mentor to someone with cancer doesn’t require much training. You simply need a strong desire to help others, be positive, foster open communication, and remain honest. Relay small bits of information at a time so the person can absorb what’s being said without being overwhelmed. Prepare to repeat the information often, and patiently answer lots of questions. Be sure to establish boundaries up front. Include your availability, how often you expect to meet, for what length of time, what your role will include and exclude, and the best way to contact you.

As a survivor, think about becoming a mentor for someone fighting cancer. You have the credibility of knowing what battling cancer is like and can sincerely empathize about the journey. Plus, you can use what you learned from your own experiences to advocate for someone else to have a potentially better outcome than they otherwise might not.

As part of your mentoring process, consider talking about Chix 4 a Cause with the person who has cancer. Learn more about our Gifts of Love program at today.

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