A native of Central Newfoundland, Matt Ralph (he/his) was first diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2008, and is currently dancing with his third recurrence. In addition to tumours, advocacy, and survivorship, he cares deeply about his coffee, his books, his musical instruments, his candles, his fountain pens, his cardigans, and his dog Beckett. He is a member of the Qualipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band.
One enchanted evening in spring 2008, I took a nap and woke up surrounded by paramedics. It’s been an interesting ride ever since with brain surgery that May, a recurrence in 2013, a second brain surgery (after which I suffered a stroke), and then 30 rounds of radiation in 2014. That’s when YACC found me.
Since 2014, I have gone to YACC events like Retreat Yourself and the Survivor Conference and appeared as a guest on the Big Cancer Hook-up! Additionally — and importantly — I’ve also been engaged with YACC’s powerful online community. I can’t express how meaningful YACC has been in my life. It’s a second oversized family.
YACC has always been great at defining much of what AYA cancer means, and at celebrating survivorship, collective spirt, and the individual. For me, the YACCtivist program is an opportunity to work on a stronger and more solid group voice and to develop real agency. Our stories, our problems, and our issues are unique, and they deserve to be heard.
Diagnosis: Glial-neuronal brain tumour
Age at diagnosis: 22