Discussion Series

For some of the most critical topics, we know there’s always more to say. Some things we just need to talk about.​

Discussion Series are an opportunity to take a deep dive into the most important issues. Join for one session, or participate in the entire month-long series for extended learning and discussion in a group setting.

Each ninety minute online workshop will focus on a different aspect of the overall topic, featuring a presentation and small group discussions. The first 30 minutes of the session will be a recorded presentation to be shared on our website as a mini-webinar available to our full community. The final hour will be a confidential discussion section and will not be recorded.

September Discussion Series:
In Treatment

Wednesdays from 5:00 - 6:30 pm ET

Be Your Own Advocate

Facilitator: Julia Leavitt, LCSW

Wednesday, September 8

As a patient suddenly thrust into the world of oncology, you’re likely feeling overwhelmed and isolated. There is jargon to learn, decisions to be made, and it’s all happening fast. One thing you’ll learn right away: as you navigate your cancer, you have to be your own best advocate. This session will provide tools to better build and communicate with your care team, help you ask questions to make informed decisions, and allow you to talk with other AYAs going through the same thing to share best practices.

Fertility Preservation

Facilitator: Julia Leavitt, LCSW

Wednesday, September 15

Young people dealing with cancer have many additional burdens that older patients don’t face, and fertility issues are at the top of that list. Decisions about parenthood may not have been on your radar before treatment, but now you need to grapple with this topic whether you’re ready or not. This honest conversation with other patients will help address some of your questions about fertility preservation and provide a space to cope with the confusion, loss, or disappointment that can come with compromised or lost fertility.

Sponsored by:


Managing Treatment Effects

Facilitator: Brittany Hall, Ph.D

Wednesday, September 22

Side effects of cancer treatments will vary depending on your treatment plan, but none of them are very fun. From hair loss to weight gain to chemo brain…the effects can be very distressing. This discussion will address what to expect and how to cope with treatment effects, as well as create an opportunity to share your fears, frustrations, and self care strategies with peers that get it.

Preparing for What Comes Next

Facilitator: Julia Leavitt, LCSW

Wednesday, September 29

Unfortunately, the end of treatment is not the end of your cancer experience…many survivors report the transition after treatment to be their most challenging time. Feelings of relief may mix with feelings of confusion, sadness, and guilt. Join this open, exploratory discussion to learn about survivorship care planning and how to best support your mental health, while building community with other patients to prepare for what comes next.

Thank you to our September Discussion Series sponsor:

October Discussion Series:
Focus on Caregivers

Tuesdays from 5:00 - 6:30 pm ET

Navigating the Caregiver Role

Facilitator: Sarah Paul, LCSW, OSW-C

Tuesday, October 5

When thrust into a caretaking role after the diagnosis of a loved one, there are a lot of new demands and responsibilities for you to manage…and there’s not always a clear path of how to navigate the new role. From practical concerns like tracking medications and appointments, to personal concerns like how to adjust your relationship to your patient and establish healthy boundaries (not to mention taking care of your own personal or professional responsibilities!), it can be a big learning curve. Join this open discussion with other AYA cancer caregivers to share best practices and strategies about settling into your role as a caregiver.

Adapting to a Changing Relationship

Facilitator: Alyson Erardy, LMSW

Tuesday, October 12

Some caregiving challenges are universal, while others are specific to your relationship type. As you settle into the new roles of “patient” and “caregiver,” there are bound to be effects on your core relationship. As a parent to an AYA patient, you have to balance your child’s growing independence with their need for care. As a romantic partner, you have to keep a spark alive while dealing with the gritty realities of treatment. Siblings, friends, and other caregiver relationships all have their own complexities. Join this open conversation to dig into and explore the unique challenges of your caregiver relationship with others that understand.

Specific Caregiving Challenges: Caring for Metastatic Patients and Caregiving as a Survivor

Facilitators: Sarah Paul, LCSW, OSW-C and Marlee Kiel, LCSW

Tuesday, October 19

This week will be a split focus between two specific caregiving communities: those caring for metastatic AYA patients and survivors turned caregivers.

While for many, the intensity of a caregiving experience is a finite time during treatment, for caregivers of metastatic or chronic patients, the caregiving never ends. This conversation with other metastatic caregivers will create an opportunity for you to build community and resilience for caregiving in the long-term.

For cancer survivors that become caregivers to their loved ones, the caregiving experience can be especially complicated. It might be difficult to separate your experience from theirs, or it might intensify your own fear of recurrence. How do you care for your patient, while dealing with your own triggers or lasting effects from treatment? This discussion will provide space for survivors to learn from each other as you navigate a new side of the cancer experience.

Caring for the Caregiver

Facilitator: Mary Hanley, LMSW

Tuesday, October 26

You’ve heard it a million times, but it’s still true: you have to put on your own oxygen mask before helping anyone else. It can feel impossible to prioritize your own needs while caring for an AYA with cancer, but if you aren’t taking care of yourself, you won’t be able to properly care for your patient. In this discussion, share and learn self care strategies to help you avoid burnout, navigate your work/life balance, and protect your mental health as a caregiver.

View past Discussion Series Presentations...

Coming later this year...

December 2021: Body Image

Please review the Digital Programs Code of Conduct before attending and make sure to download Zoom before logging on. It’s free!