Marissa’s Story—A Patient’s Perspective
Marissa was a college student when a Ewing Sarcoma cancer diagnosis changed everything. Rather than spending time on a college campus, her world was filled with hospital visits and chemotherapy. With her cancer now in remission, Marissa realizes that her own cancer experience has and continues to shape her life. What she once saw as a temporary phase, has now developed into her support for other AYA individuals through Intersections UCSF.Read Marissa’s Story
Steven’s Story—A Patient’s Perspective
Steven was your typical high school senior when an Acute Myeloid Leukemia diagnosis turned what should have been one of the most exciting times of his life into a day-to-day fight. Determined to not let the diagnosis define him, Steven found support in his family, friends, and the AYA community. With his cancer now in remission, Steven has remained an active member of the AYA network, becoming a part of UCSF Intersections where he is able to provide support for others affected by a cancer diagnosis.Read Steven’s Story
Mark’s Story—A Social Worker’s Perspective
“My life is OVER.” These were the initial words I heard from an 18-year-old young man, following scan results that showed a relapse of his cancer. As a Pediatric Oncology Social Worker at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, I have the honor and privilege of working with and being invited into the lives of many adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients. However, the words uttered by that 18-year-old young man are all too common and I hear them more than anyone would want.
What should be a joyous adventure for our AYA’S becomes a life put on hold and forever changed following a cancer diagnosis. The impending excitement of a “flight into adulthood and independence” is immediately muted by the reality of a life-threatening disease and an overwhelming sense of despair, hopelessness, isolation and depression.
At UCSF, a new and groundbreaking program called Intersections is forming to let our AYA community know that they are not alone as they face the life-changing challenges of a cancer diagnosis. The goal of the program is to bring young men and women together, to help normalize their experience and to support them through all aspects of this challenging journey, including their treatment and aftercare. They also plan on connecting patients with others with a shared story. Intersections will become an integral tool in helping to facilitate these essential connections.