Friday, July 13, 2007

A New Kind of Happy Hour...

Last nite my husband and I went to the Taj Lounge in NYC for the “Stupid Cancer Happy Hour”. If you aren’t familiar with the term “stupid cancer” then you probably haven’t met Matthew Zachary. Matthew is the founder of I’m Too Young For This! an organization focused on the needs of young people with cancer. Matthew knows all too well about stupid cancer….you see he is a young brain cancer survivor. His organization hosted the event, the first of its kind!

It was my first time meeting Matthew and I must say that I am in awe of his dedication and enthusiasm. It was also my first time being in a room full of young cancer survivors. It was truly a unique experience for me. For the first time in the 6 years since my diagnosis I felt a sense of belonging that had been missing for so long. I met some great people and we all had something in common…….”stupid cancer”. It is the club none of us wanted to join and yet the camaraderie is something very unique and unexplainable. We shared stories, shared smiles, laughter, and even some hugs. My husband who is not a cancer survivor but has unfortunately been affected by cancer within the family also felt his own sense of belonging. He told me that he has never been to a bar for happy hour where the people there were genuinely “happy”! He said it was hard to put his finger on exactly what “it” was but he could feel it in those around him and see it on their faces, like nothing he had ever experienced before.

Over the years since my own cancer diagnosis I have not really been involved in any fundraising, running (maybe cause I hate it), or walking for the cure. I have felt guilt about it, have wondered why I just wasn’t motivated to get involved. Then when I found out about Matthew’s organization I was suddenly drawn to it. I feel very strongly about it and will continue to spread the word. What I really love and find unique in it is that the focus is on how to help young people “live” after cancer. There are many organizations out there that focus on money for research to find a cure not that research isn’t important, it absolutely is, but what about all the people living with cancer? There are many more young people surviving that need the support of others and help to figure out how to get back to living.

Matthew Zachary has certainly begun a revolution. He has created a positive place for young people to come together and laugh in the face of cancer. Now is the time to hop on the Matthew train. I am not sure where it stops next but what I do know for sure is that it will be a fun ride!

No comments: