April 18 - 20, 2024

Live Sessions & Activities

Thursday, April 18th

4:00 PM EST

Conference Opens

4:30 - 8:30 PM ET

Flip’s Lounge

 

Need a breather? Flip’s Lounge is your place to take a rest, decompress between sessions, have a quiet chat… Whatever you need to recharge.

Breakout 1

5:00 - 5:45 PM ET

So You Think You’re Ready to “Go Public?”

Lisa Machado

So you think you’re ready to share your cancer story? Whether it be just among close friends and family, your broader network of neighbors and colleagues, or the full-monty of media exposure, this session will help you navigate the challenges of opening up and sharing your personal cancer story with others. We’ll explore tips and tricks to manage the stupid questions and comments that will inevitably come up, how to protect yourself from sharing more than you’re ready to, and how to recognize when sharing your personal story is coming at a cost to your emotional health.

5:00 - 5:45 PM ET

You Can’t Pour from an Empty Cup: Self Care Workshop for Caregivers

Brigid Frasquillo, MS

As a caregiver, you have likely poured lots of time and energy into caring for your loved ones…which can result in burnout. Balancing the demands of caregiving with other responsibilities can make it challenging to prioritize and tend to your own needs; but it’s essential for caregivers to learn ways to support themselves as you cannot pour from an empty cup. Join this interactive session to connect with other caregivers while increasing awareness of caregiver burnout and learning practical coping tools for the emotional and practical difficulties of caregiving.

Breakout 2

6:00 - 6:45 PM ET

Patient/Provider Talk: AYA Survivorship

Haleigh Mistry, PA; Janae Harris, RN;  Jessica Blanc, LCSW; & Andrea Hans

Listen in on an open and honest conversation between healthcare providers and patients about the realities of AYA survivorship care. Stupid Cancer is excited to present this session as a collaboration with the 14th Annual Texas AYA Oncology Conference, hosted this year by MD Anderson.

6:00 - 6:45 PM ET

Self-Advocacy Tools for LGBTQIA2+ AYAs

Hailey Johnston, Elisabeth Dodd, & Yasmine Ramachandra, MS

Join us for an interactive session exploring how we can best advocate for our care as LGBTQIA2+ identifying cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers. In this session we will workshop how to talk with and interview medical professionals, advocate for appropriate and inclusive care, and share in community by discussing our different experiences and resources.

Breakout 3

7:00 - 8:15 PM ET

Poetry as a Coping Tool: How Writing Can Help

Kelsey Bigelow

Managing your mental health after cancer can be a heavy burden, and we may need many creative strategies for our toolkit. This interactive workshop will share methods for writing poetry as a coping tool. From free writing and responding to prompts to observing your situation and trying a poetic form, poetry can help you process and manage your emotions through the heaviness.

7:00 - 8:15 PM ET

Community Dialogue: Metastatic & Advanced Patients

Melisa Celikoyar, LCSW

When you have metastatic, chronic, or advanced cancer, it’s never really over. Living with cancer and ongoing treatments changes your physical, emotional, and social identity – and it’s an ongoing process. This discussion session provides a safe and intimate space to talk with your peers who are also living with metastatic/chronic/advanced cancer.

Trivia

8:30 - 9:30 PM ET

Test your trivia know-how and impress new friends with your useless knowledge! Pop culture, sports, history – it’s all fair game in this “pub-style” team trivia game.

Friday, April 19th

5:00 PM EST

Conference Opens

5:00 - 8:30PM EST

Flip’s Lounge

Need a breather? Flip’s Lounge is your place to take a rest, decompress between sessions, have a quiet chat… Whatever you need to recharge.

Breakout 4

6:00 - 6:45 PM ET

Memetherapy: Sharing Stories through Memes

Flávia Maoli & Marina Guthmann

They say laughter is the best medicine…and it’s 2024, so we’re LOLing at memes! In this interactive session, connect and share your story with other AYAs using humor and non-verbal forms of expression, like GIFs and other memes. Because with topics this intense, sometimes the best way to express yourself is through a Whatsapp sticker.

6:00 - 6:45 PM ET

Feel More Like You Beauty Workshop presented by Walgreens

Michelle Rachman (Walgreens) & Alex Cosimano PharmaD CSP

Learn tips and tricks for skincare and suncare from the Walgreens’ Feel More Like You beauty and pharmacy experts. The Feel More Like You(TM) team is specially trained to help you better manage internal and visible side effects from cancer treatment.

Breakout 5

7:00 - 8:15 PM ET

Community Dialogue: Male Patients/Survivors

Jason Abramovitch

It’s no secret that men are often outnumbered at gatherings of the AYA cancer community. Mixing the societal pressures for guys to “stay strong” and the underrepresentation of men in cancer support spaces, being an AYA male can be a particular challenge. This discussion will be an opportunity for male-identifying survivors to connect with each other and move towards accepting physical and emotional help.

7:00 - 8:15 PM ET

It’s me, Hi! Rediscovering Yourself After Cancer

Ambreen Maan

After hearing “you have cancer,” everything changes. It can be difficult to recognize yourself or to understand where to go from here. The path to finding yourself and understanding who you are after having the “patient” label slapped on you is not linear, but it’s one that you can own and steer. This is your story: let’s talk about how you can own it through self-awareness, self-compassion, and empathy.

Storytelling Open Mic

8:30 - 9:30 PM ET

Hear amazing, relatable, and always real stories at this intimate open-mic style event to cap off two weeks of AYA connection. Want to be a storyteller? Email programs@stupidcancer.org to sign up.

Saturday, April 20th

10:30 AM EST

Conference Opens

10:30 AM - 2:30 PM EST

Flip’s Lounge

Need a breather? Flip’s Lounge is your place to take a rest, decompress between sessions, have a quiet chat… Whatever you need to recharge.

Breakout 6

11:00 AM - 12:15 PM ET

Solo Survivorship: Dating After Cancer

Brigid Frasquillo, MS

Dating in 2024 can be a nightmare for anyone, but dating after diagnosis really raises the stakes. How can you create an effective support system as a single person? When should you disclose to new romantic prospects? What should you share about your cancer history? Join this open and honest talk with other AYAs to share your experiences and build community.

11:00 AM - 12:15 PM ET

Community Dialogue: Childhood Cancer Survivors

Marissa Fors

As a childhood cancer survivor, your whole life and identity may have been framed by your cancer experience. In addition to concerns about long-term treatment effects and secondary cancers, there are unique psychosocial impacts of spending your childhood in the pediatric oncology ward. This group discussion will provide a space for childhood cancer survivors to talk about their specific journey and what they need to thrive as adults.

Breakout 7

1:00 - 2:15 PM ET

Mental Health after Cancer

Julia Leavitt

Even if your cancer is many years behind you, survivorship – and the mental health challenges it brings – lasts a lifetime. Your feelings about your cancer experience may change or develop over time. Intense “scanxiety” may crop up each year; every ache, pain, or allergy symptom might set off alarm bells. And for those on ongoing therapies or living with metastatic disease, cancer will never be “over.” This workshop is an opportunity for adolescent and young adult cancer patients and survivors to discuss how they manage their long-term mental health and learn coping strategies for life after diagnosis.

1:00 - 2:15 PM ET

Community Dialogue: BIPOC Patient/Survivors & HCPs

Sara Grisales-Jaramillo

Cancer impacts every race and ethnicity, however cancer patients who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) must navigate the additional burden of microaggressions or discrimination while seeking health care and treatment. BIPOC healthcare professionals must also manage the weight of systemic racism in healthcare settings. This session is intended to help increase connections and community for BIPOC AYAs and healthcare professionals facing interrelated challenges.

Breakout 8

2:30 - 3:15 PM ET

Becoming Research Ready

Alique Topalian

Even though certain racial/ethnic minority groups get cancer more often, are diagnosed younger, and are at risk for earlier death, research fails to include adequate proportions of these groups. Encouraging equitable participation in research is an important tool in the fight against health disparities, enabling equitable access to the innovation and high-quality care associated with research participation. In this session, learn about an outreach program to help people become “Research Ready” using a community co-designed graphic-style story and Discussion Plan to discuss the purpose of research, how people are protected, and why diverse participation is needed.

2:30 - 3:15 PM ET

Recover Well: Breathwork & Mindfulness

Shannon Cury

This engaging workshop for survivors explores breathwork and mindfulness as tools for authentic self-care. Discover how these practices deepen the mind-body connection while aligning your values with your healing. Engage in a guided breathwork & visioning session to craft personalized self care that supports you.

Pre-Recorded Sessions

Navigating Medical Billing and Health Insurance

Jenni Nolan, BCPA

Maybe the only thing more difficult than going through cancer treatment is figuring out how to pay for it. In this informative session, you’ll gain important strategies on navigating the medical billing and health insurance process and avoiding the financial toxicity of a cancer diagnosis. Dive into the complex world of the medical billing process and terminology, learn who can help you, and better understand your insurance, how to review bills, and what financial assistance options are available to you.

5 Myths of Coping with Cancer & Strategies to Address Them

Elizabeth Cohn Stuntz, LCSW-R & Ronda Oswalt Reitz, PhD

A cancer diagnosis can stir up strong thoughts and feelings that can get in the way of actually coping. This presentation identifies five such common misconceptions: “I’m doing this all wrong.” “I should avoid all stress.” “I should stay away from strong emotions.” “Saying what I need causes problems.” “There’s no way to feel pleasure right now.” Check out this presentation to learn about a model that offers effective strategies to make decisions, manage difficult emotions, communicate with others, and live meaningfully through and after cancer.

How to Talk to the Little Ones in your Life about Cancer

Carissa Hodgson, LCSW, OSW-C

Having to talk with other people about your cancer can be HARD. But what do you say to the children in your life who want to know why you are bald or feeling so tired? This presentation will shed light on what to say (and what NOT to say!) to all the little humans with big questions. We’ll cover how to talk with kids of different ages, how to help support them through their feelings, and resources that will come in handy as they (and you!) try to figure this all out.

What is Legal About an AYA Cancer Diagnosis

Laura Beilke, Esq

After a cancer diagnosis, AYAs face many challenges across various aspects of their lives. Often, these situations are not thought of as legal, however, there are often laws and legal tools that can help young adults navigate these situations. This informative session will shed light on policies that exist to support you at work, including working through treatment and taking time off work, as well as options to replace lost wages and how to navigate health insurance.

How Psychiatry Can Help You Cope

Megan Gilman, MD

Sometimes meditation or counseling just aren’t enough for the mental health toolkit for an AYA. Psychiatric care can help you manage normal human responses to extraordinary circumstances…like navigating a cancer diagnosis as an adolescent or young adult. Learn about what psychiatric medications can – and can’t – do, how a psychiatrist can act as an advocate, and ways that brief therapy interventions can make transitions in care less disruptive.

Adulting 101: What You Should Have Learned in High School

Laura Beilke, Esq

Adulting is hard – we want to make it a little easier. This presentation will break down the stuff we all have to deal with as adults…whether we want to or not. Learn about the terms in your health insurance policy, how to pick a policy that will minimize your out of pocket costs, how to manage finances after a diagnosis, and what legal documents to think about and prepare as you plan for the future.

Speakers

(More to be announced)

Jay Abramovitch

Man Up to Cancer

Laura Beilke, Esq

Triage Cancer

Kelsey Bigelow

Poet & Speaker

Jessica Blanc, LCSW

MD Anderson

Melisa Celikoyar, LCSW

Long Island Program Coordinator

Alex Cosimano, PharmaD CSP

Walgreens

Shannon Cury

Breath Facilitator & Wellbeing Specialist

Elisabeth Dodd

Escape

Marissa Fors, LCSW

Brigid Frasquillo, MS

Stupid Cancer

Megan Gilman, MD

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Marina Guthmann

Instituto Camaleão

Andrea Hans

Health Advocate

Janae Harris, RN

MD Anderson

Carissa Hodgson, LCSW, OSW-C

Bright Spot Network

Sara Grisales-Jaramillo, LMSW

CancerCare

Hailey Johnston

Escape

Julia Leavitt, LCSW

UCLA Health

Ambreen Maan, MSW, LSW

American Brain Tumor Association

Lisa Machado

Canadian CML Network

Flávia Maoli

Instituto Camaleão

Haleigh Mistry, PA

MD Anderson

Jenni Nolan, BCPA

Clear Healthcare Advocacy

Ronda Oswalt Reitz, PhD

Missouri Department of Behavioral Health

Michelle Rachman

Walgreens

Yasmine Ramachandra, MS

Escape

Elizabeth Cohn Stuntz, LCSW-R

Westchester Center for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy

Alique Topalian, PhD, MPH

University of Cincinnati