YACCtivist: Janelle Lamontagne

YACCtivist: Janelle Lamontagne

On May 10, 2017, my life changed drastically. I went from being a healthcare provider to being a cancer patient.

As a medical speech-language pathologist, I’ve worked with hundreds of cancer patients, but when I personally heard the phrase, “You have cancer,” followed by the words, “brain tumour,” “craniotomy,” “radiation,” “chemotherapy” and “life expectancy,” all my medical knowledge, resources, and connections weren’t enough. I felt so alone despite all my support and I wondered, “How do other young adults deal with the isolation that comes with cancer?”

On one of my lowest days, I came across the YACC website. Before I knew it, I was on my way to Newfoundland to attend the Survivor Conference. For the first time since being diagnosed with cancer, I felt a sense of normalcy and belonging. Discovering YACC was a game changer for me, and I can say with all certainty, I would not be as emotionally or psychologically healthy as I am right now without it.

I was one of the lucky ones though because out of the 22 young adults in Canada diagnosed with cancer every day, right now only one finds YACC. As a YACCtivist, it is my goal to engage and collaborate with other health care professionals to raise awareness of the unique challenges faced by young adults with cancer, including the overwhelming sense of isolation. In doing so, I’m hopeful the medical community will join in the mission of ensuring that all young adults with cancer receive the psychosocial and emotional support they deserve.

Diagnosis: Anaplastic Astrocytoma (brain cancer)

Age at diagnosis: 29

Province: MB

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