“You have Stage IV Hodgkin Lymphoma and must immediately begin treatment,” is a statement 29-year-old Angel Ronquillo never, ever thought she’d hear.
Last spring Angel – a passionate teacher – was busy planning for her future when she received this life-altering news. Angel was immediately faced with a new reality she needed help navigating.
Your support has been integral to Angel and others diagnosed with cancer. Your generosity funds CancerCare Manitoba’s very valuable Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Program. This program guides cancer patients across our province aged 15 to 35 through their distinct cancer journey.
“There are many factors that make cancer different for AYAs. Social isolation, interruption to work and education, loss of fertility, childcare challenges and relationship stress,” explains Ian Scott, the AYA Psychosocial Oncology Clinician at CancerCare Manitoba.
During such a transitional stage in their lives, most AYAs are focusing on building relationships, higher learning, growing through self-discovery, starting their careers and their own families.
“Your generosity enables us to provide counselling which helps support the unique needs of this vibrant age group,” explains Ian.
As part of the program, AYAs also get to lean on each other through a support group with other patients going through a similar experience. In this setting they see familiar faces and offer each other hope, comfort and healing.
“Just being able to share my story, they understand. They don’t have to ask. You say how you’re feeling; your highs and lows; your struggles and they just get it,” reflects Angel.
In the past two years, the AYA program has had a far reach – accepting 426 referrals. The program’s support also extends outside of patients to family members and supporters of AYA patients.
“I want to say thank you. Your support of the AYA program has essentially saved my life,” says Angel. “Your donations are helping me heal.”
This coming spring, your investment will support Manitoba hosting the Young Adult Cancer Canada Conference. This national cancer survivor conference will bring together 150 young adults to network and participate in one-of-a-kind workshops. “It’s unparalleled in terms of its opportunities for both education and connection, but also personal growth,” describes Ian.
You are truly helping create a community of healing for these patients and they are profoundly grateful.
For more information on the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Program at CancerCare Manitoba visit the Patient and Family Resource Centre page on CancerCare Manitoba’s website.