www.cancerreallysucks.orgCancer Really Sucks

“My uncle was diagnosed with multiple myeloma three years ago. My mom spent a lot of time traveling back and forth to Chicago, where my uncle lives. I felt guilty wishing she were at home with me when my uncle needed her more.” Kendall, 18. “When I found out my mom had cancer, hearing that word, ‘cancer’ was like getting punched in the chest. Being away at college, I felt helpless. But, the best advice I was given was to stop worrying, because worrying was not going to help my mom survive.” Anne, 18

Anne and Kendall sought solace and answers to their very personal concerns and questions at www.cancerreallysucks.org ,a non-profit sponsored by Gems of Hope Inc., designed in 2007 in Iowa by teens for teenagers (13-17) who have loved ones facing cancer. They were able to chat on line with other teens facing the same serious and emotional issues. Those teens offered advice based on their current or recent experiences and offered emotional support and encouragement. Professionals offered suggestions to help them cope in a positive way with the cancer-related feelings they were experiencing. They had the opportunity for a live chat with professionals and teens through live chat rooms set up at designated times.

“Cancer affects the whole family, not just the person with the disease. Some families find it easy to talk about cancer, easily sharing feelings about the changes that cancer brings to their lives. Other families find it harder to talk about cancer, wanting to solve their problems alone and not wanting to talk about their feelings.

Teens are at a time in their lives when they are trying to break away and be independent from their parents. When a parent has cancer, breaking away can be hard for them; they may become withdrawn, angry, act out or get in trouble.” National Cancer Institute/Family Matters 11/9/09.

If you know someone diagnosed with cancer with teenage family members, introduce them to www.cancerreallysucks.org The site is professional, easily navigated and offers:

  • How to Deal: read suggestions from professionals as well as from teens based on your selection of questions and emotions.
  • Forum: post your stories and start discussions with other teens who understand because their lives have been turned upside-down by cancer. All entries must adhere to rules for submission and are reviewed prior to posting to keep the forum a safe place for asking questions and sharing thoughts and feelings.
  • Chat: speak with professionals as well as other teens through live chat on specific dates and at specific times.
  • Breakthroughs: Link to read articles describing recent breakthroughs for numerous forms of cancer.
  • Play List: Lists songs by category, title, and artist recommended by this site for positive and inspirational listening.
  • The Wall: read or add comments to a wall page with an attitude of gratitude. Because having an attitude of thankfulness in all life’s circumstances can help you cope with painful life experiences; all comments are monitored prior to posting for appropriateness.