The Lynx Group
Association for Value-Based Care

The Cancer Patient’s Message This Thanksgiving

Conference Correspondent

No one truly knows what it is like to experience and navigate cancer unless they have been diagnosed with the disease. During the November 20 session of the Association for Value-Based Cancer Care (AVBCC) 10th Annual Summit, Lillie Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG, Founder of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators, spoke with a panel of survivors to help us better understand what we must do to improve upon the quality of care we deliver in the future and to leave us with a message of hope as we prepare for Thanksgiving.

Patricia Goldsmith was diagnosed 10 days before becoming CEO of CancerCare. She said that her first fear wasn’t death, but whether she would be able to continue working and how she would tell her colleagues. As a survivor of 6 years, Ms Goldsmith says that she believes her cancer has made her a better person and a better colleague in the cancer space. It has also taught her what is important in life.

T.J. Sharpe, Speaker, Writer, and Patient Advisor at Starfish Harbor, LLC, was diagnosed with stage I melanoma at 25 years of age. Twelve years later, he was diagnosed with stage IV melanoma. He didn’t lose hope and didn’t postpone joy. Mr Sharpe made goals for himself and his family and saw them through.

Molly MacDonald, Founder, Executive Director and Breast Cancer SurThrivor® at The Pink Fund, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. The disease did not take her life, but it did take her livelihood. Ms MacDonald was between jobs and was no longer a candidate for prospective jobs. She experienced financial toxicity, which was worse than her disease. She saw women who were suffering financially and who were considering stopping their treatment just so they could go back to work. Ms MacDonald and her husband created The Pink Fund to help combat these issues.

Mimi Schnier, Program Assistant at SUNY Old Westbury, recently passed the 5-year mark of a less than 45% survival rate. After a year of symptoms and tests, Ms Schnier was finally diagnosed with stage III ovarian cancer. She describes herself as a perpetual patient with 4 occurrences in 6 years. Ms Schnier chooses to live and advocate for herself.

Ms Shockney wants physicians to ask their patients what brings them joy to see how they define their quality of life. These priorities might change through treatment, but it is essential in providing palliative care to a patient and knowing what will motivate them through their journey.

When Judy Ochs was diagnosed with cancer 29 years ago, she experienced a terror she had never felt before because she thought she was going to die. After her diagnosis, she set out to meet survivors to give her the hope and inspiration to fight, educate herself, and be active in her treatment. This Thanksgiving, Ms Ochs says that she wants you to live your life with your mind, body, and soul and find time to experience joy.

To gain access to these in-depth, expert views, register for the AVBCC Summit. With more than 40 webcasts and other sessions, the 10-week agenda is packed with timely insights on cancer care.

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