When Niklaus asked me to write a blog post about my first two months as the Adolescent and Young Adult Program Director at UNC, I was thrilled! I love talking about this work and about the AYA population. But when I sat down to put my thoughts on paper … I got stuck. I got stuck because—even after years and years in the oncology world—I was profoundly impacted by meeting the UNC AYA community.
I sat with patients who are adjusting to a new diagnosis or coping with treatment. I was inspired by their struggle to stay connected to the life they led before cancer and their innate motivation to continue to live this life during treatment.
I met with parents and families of AYA patients as they provide unending support to their kids—worrying for and hoping with them every step of the way.
I collaborated with staff who are passionate about taking care of AYA patients and families and who have creative and innovative ideas about how to improve life in the hospital for this group of patients.
And I thought a lot about Sophie.
I didn’t know or have the chance to work with Sophie. But I am gaining a deeper appreciation of the legacy that she left her family and community. As I meet with patients, families, and staff at UNC, it strikes me that Sophie would proud of their LOUDNESS! They are all (in Sophie’s words), “wading into the water…moving with grace…and seeing the world.” In other words, they’re trying to be the best people, caregivers, and providers they can be.
I’m so excited to wade into the water with this amazing group of people, figure out how we can all be our LOUDEST selves, and work together to take even better care of AYA patients and families.