Cancer is difficult for anyone, but it can be especially hard for those who feel they’re the only one their age going through it.
Young Adults Cancer Canada’s (YACC) Saskatoon representative Heather Bonynge said when many think of cancer, they imagine young children or middle-aged to seniors and young adults are often left in the lurch.
“There just isn’t a place that young adults fit in and you feel very alone. You feel like you’re the only one going through this,” Bonynge said. “You go to the cancer centres for your treatment and you’re in a waiting room full of people who are usually over the age of 50 plus, or you’re sitting right next to the pediatrics unit.”
Statistics Canada predicted 89 per cent of all 2015 cancers would be diagnosed in Canadians over the age of 50 and one per cent would be under 19 years of age, leaving just 10 per cent of the population as young adults.
Bonynge was diagnosed with cervical cancer when she was 27 years old. After surviving the disease, she began searching for ways to help others going through the same thing.
“(YACC’s) slogan is ‘Any cancer, any stage, YACC’s got your back,” she said.
To help young adults across Canada, YACC will host a nation-wide Big Cancer Hook-Up online Saturday evening. The event will connect anyone diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 39 and currently between 18 and 39 through online conference systems at 11 group events, including Saskatoon. Users can also access the event at home if they are either not well enough to go out or do not feel comfortable around others.
Speakers will share their experiences with cancer and allow participants a chance to mingle.
Saskatoon’s free group event will be held at 5pm at Broadcast House, 715 Saskatchewan Crescent West. Anyone who wishes to attend must register on the YACC website.