Young Survival Coalition Seattle Programs
We offer four ongoing support groups consisting of a bi-monthly facilitated support group, a co-survivor support group as well as a metastatic survivor group. A support group is the face-to-face meeting of two or more individuals around common needs to achieve common goals. The power of the group is derived when participants gain positive insights and realize that they are not alone in trying to cope with specific situations or circumstances. Very few medical facilities and support organizations offer support groups for young cancer survivors. As a result, many young survivors contact YSC asking to start a support group in their community.
We are unique in that we started as a support group back in 2002 unlike other affiliates that started with fund raising or advocacy as their focus. We now run 4 ongoing support groups including: a bi-monthly group for newly diagnosed women facilitated by a licensed social worker as well as a metastatic and co-survivor group that both meet monthly. This is truly the foundation of YSC Seattle.
YANA (Young Are Not Alone) socials
Young women diagnosed with breast cancer often feel isolated, alone and unable to find others like themselves. They are looking for support and a connection with women who face the same unique issues they may face. Young Survival Coalition (YSC) offers numerous programs and services to support young women with breast cancer throughout their lifetimes. You Are Not Alone (YANA) has become a foundation of YSC’s work and the emphasis of our supportive services. The value of connection and peer support is so important to the young women YSC serves. We follow YSC’s YANA Supportive Services Guidelines to provide effective and engaging supportive services to our local members.
There are times when a survivor may not be interested in the typical support or networking group. For this reason many affiliates offer “Survivor Socials”. These socials are designed to offer survivors support in a more social atmosphere instead of a traditional support group or networking setting. This is the opportunity to be creative and plan a fun, exciting event while providing support to the young breast cancer community! YSC materials and informed volunteers are available for participants who attend. Each participant is invited to attend free of charge. YSC Seattle has ensures these quarterly socials are held in addition to support or networking groups.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
As we have grown considerably in size in the past year (over 30%) we are now up to 130 members ranging from 10 years out to weeks from initial diagnoses and stages 0-4. We noticed that the group was feeling a bit disconnected. There are groups of survivors who go through treatment and recovery together that tend to get very close- I call these "Generations". We have several generations that really don't know each other and we realized we need to build on our sense of community. This has created a need to provide more social events based on common interests (such as exercise, cooking, trivia night and most recently a monthly drop-in open art studio). This year for the first time we hosted a local retreat at Harmony Hill Cancer Retreat Center with 18 young women in attendance. This not only gave us time to step back and process our experience and "new normal" but also gave us a change to bridge the gaps within the generations and build our new community. Since the retreat our attendance has increased with our currently programmatic offerings on Facebook Page and website as well. This is the circle of support we talk about. We now have our 2nd annual retreat planned for next June and we hope to have 40 women attend next year.