A few months went by with the start of my first year of college at Penn State and entering remission when I get a piece of mail. I expected it to be related to my treatment, but instead I got an invite to a ski trip: my first Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology Program event.
I probably am not alone as far as my stance was when one finds out about the AYA Oncology Program; I was rather tentative at first. Up to this point, I had been a lone wolf; of course I had support from my friends and family, but none of them could actually empathize with my experience. I had a preconceived idea that I, as anyone else who went on the ski trip, would simply meet a bunch of random patients who I would proceed to forget within a few hours of going back home. My plan was to learn how to ski, then hole myself up in the hotel room and be a curmudgeon.
Instead, I made a new family. I met people, such as past writer on this blog, Merel Duursma, who after only a couple days, I felt more akin to and have forged better relationships with than some people I’d known for years. And the relationship shows, especially with my birthday landing on or close to the dates of the ski trip. Well, I think it would be easier to just say that it is impossible to feel anything except really awesome when these people throw a surprise birthday party for you. The birthdays I have shared with the friends I have made through the AYA Oncology Program are some of the best I have ever had, if not the best.
After this, all I wanted to be was involved. All aboard the AYA Oncology Program train! The network that the program provides is an excellent way to unite patients, and I have met up with some from the program outside of any scheduled events. Often with the focus on chemotherapeutic medical treatment for cancer patients, mental and emotional factors can be overlooked. This program is an excellent support structure that fills this gap with a network of people who can understand each other.
But the train doesn’t stop at the ski trip. Next stop: CureRock!
The inaugural CureRock event in 2012 at Stage AE featured an assortment of cool, local bands. A fundraiser for the AYA Oncology Program, this annual event is open to all who have the chance to attend, whether they are a patient, friend, family, or just someone looking to rock out. With a long night of music and all the great people from the program events, how can you go wrong!? The next CureRock has been planned for March 29. As a big fan and participant in the rock arena, I’m eager to attend and hopeful to participate in future CureRock events.
I’m Nick Ranayhossaini: musician, current nursing student, and full-time survivor. Also I’m a full-time awesome guy. Part-time Batman, but only on Wednesdays (not really). And I am ready to rock!