Having any type of cancer can be tough, but working through challenges with others can make the journey a little less difficult. Here at myMPNteam, we’re driven by our mission to help people connect to those who understand.
We’re expanding the scope of our mission by partnering with Imerman Angels, a nonprofit organization that offers people with cancer, previvors, and caregivers from around the world the chance to connect with a Mentor Angel who has been through similar challenges.
Together, we can change the way we live with MPNs by guaranteeing that no one has to go through this journey alone.
When Jonny Imerman was first diagnosed with cancer at age 26, he wasn’t sure who to talk to. Jonny had a valuable network of family and friends, but he wanted to speak with someone who had experience with his diagnosis and could offer personal advice for all the twists and turns of life with cancer.
As a result, Jonny began to imagine a program that creates one-on-one connections between people like him and those who have been in their shoes before. He founded Imerman Angels in 2003 for that purpose. Now, the Mentor Angels program is a centerpiece of Imerman Angels’ mission. The Mentor Angels are a diverse group of previvors, cancer survivors, and caregivers. Over 11,706 mentors and 28,659 mentees have participated worldwide (as of June 2020), and the program is continuing to grow.
Both Imerman Angels and myMPNteam offer support for every individual, no matter where they are. Our missions complement each other, allowing those with cancer to both connect to a broader community and develop peer-to-peer relationships.
Social connections have been shown to improve overall health and longevity, especially as people age. Many mentors have found it extremely meaningful to pass the knowledge they’ve gained to others. For some, it’s become a huge part of their lives.
More than 40 criteria are used to match Mentor Angels with mentees, including demographic information, cancer history, and treatment. All information is kept confidential and is never shared with anyone except the person you agree to support.
Each potential mentor works with a staff member of Imerman Angels to get screened and trained.
“When my dad was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer just months before my wedding, the entire world stopped for me,” said Sarah, a caregiver Mentor Angel. “He was absolutely amazing throughout the whole process. Come September 2018, he walked me down the aisle, and I felt like the luckiest girl in the whole world. The battle with cancer rages on, but for me, being a Mentor Angel reminds me that we are not fighting it alone. In our togetherness, for all mentees and mentors, there is a unique kind of kinship which reminds me that separately we can all feel scared and so very helpless in the face of cancer, but together we can achieve much more. In union there is always strength.”
To get started as a Mentor Angel, either as a cancer previvor, survivor, or caregiver, follow these seven steps: