Jewish Wonder Women
by: Stacey Waterman - Last updated: 2008-04-01
Stacey Waterman and Mel Moore
Stacey Waterman reveals why she and Mel Moore are dressing up as Wonder Woman this week and taking an old banger across Europe as part of the Coyote Rally to support a charity for young adult cancer sufferers.
My mother died from cancer when she was 53 years old. That was seven years ago. During the previous three years, two of her close friends of similar age also suffered from this disease and also lost their lives. All of them left behind parents, husbands and wives, and children who had grown into their twenties.
I remember how it felt rare that cancer had touched the lives of so many adults I knew. When I say adults I say this with the image of my parents generation in mind, and even now, the 45-60 year old age bracket, was and still is, considered to be young. Up until then my experience of cancer was equated to older people of my grandparents age, but since the millennium it has become more evident to me that cancer in young people is more commonplace, as friends in their 20s and 30s fight this disease.
Yes, according to national statistics, cancer occurs predominantly in older people, with two thirds of cases diagnosed in people aged 65 and over, and more than a third of cases in people aged 75 plus, but cancer is becoming more prevalent in teenagers aged 13-24, (2,100 cases per year) and more increasingly so in young adults.
The issue at large is that both of these groups of young people suddenly find themselves faced with a possible life-threatening illness and are very often receiving treatment in facilities with inadequate support options. Under 16s are likely to be treated in a paediatric ward alongside toddlers. Over 16s and young adults often find themselves in a ward with very elderly patients.
In either case they are being treated alongside people they cant fully relate to. It is critical that they have the opportunity to interact with others their own age who understand what they are going through. The Teenage Cancer Trust has developed over the last ten years to create a support network which provides one-on-one counseling, group counseling, social meetings and online services for survivors, family and friends. But with a staggering 1 in 10 of all cancer cases in the UK attributed to young adults aged 25-50 years, how are their very different needs catered for?
To date, there has not been a similar support network for young adults. Like teenagers, many young adults are still just starting their lifes journey. Many are yet to be married. Many have yet to have children. All of them must put life on hold, just as it is starting to take off. The desire to share stories with other young like-minded adults who are facing the same fears, experiencing similar treatments, worrying about their parents and whether they will one day become parents themselves, is vast.
The No Surrender Charitable Trust is initiative that has been borne by a 33 year old cancer patient who realised through his own personal experiences that there is a massive need for a support network for young adult cancer sufferers and survivors. The No Surrender Charitable Trust provides community and online services to young adults (ages 21-45) who have been diagnosed with cancer, have been treated for cancer or are living in the aftermath of cancer. It also raises funds for research into all cancers among all age groups. The No Surrender Charitable Trust is still in its early infancy but hopes to grow in time to become as indispensable to young adults with cancer as the TCT is for teenagers.