From the moment I arrived in Minneapolis, I was greeted with smiling faces and welcoming eyes at the conference. There was an underlying feeling of being accepted and showing up just the way that I am. There was a silent understanding that when I showed up to events flat, I didn’t have to worry about what others might think of me because of that. This journey is hard enough, so experiencing the freeing feeling of not being judged was amazing, because many of the people there had gone through the same hardships and trials as me.
I absolutely loved meeting people from all over the world. Whether it was the other patients and survivors or medical professionals presenting important information, I was truly inspired by each and every person that I got to meet and interact with during the conference. The community mixer on the first night of the conference was a wonderful introduction to the other attendees and a bonding moment. Many of us have had the same trials and tribulations while navigating this cancer journey. The breakout sessions all contained very interesting discussion topics, so much so that I wish I could have attended more than one session at a time. I was curious about many of the topics being presented. The social events, such as karaoke and trivia, were super fun and enjoyable. I wish they took place every night of the conference. The scavenger hunt was a nice way to force people who are perhaps shy or introverted to meet more of their fellow attendees and participate in the most unique hunt I have ever been on. The materials received from the exhibit booths have also been helpful in spreading the word to others who may need the information but were not able to make it to the conference in person. The time I got to spend outside of the conference was filled with exploration and relaxation as I had never been to Minnesota before. The added bonus of turning this conference into a vacation was superb and just the reset I needed to continue tackling this long Cancer journey that I have been on.
I walked away at the end of the conference with valuable information that I can incorporate into my everyday life. The connections I made with new and old friends will be one of the main things I take away from this fun-filled weekend. I ended up meeting and connecting with several other women who were within driving distance of me in my home state while at the conference. I recently went to a birthday party of one of the people I met at CancerCon, and we got to celebrate the joy of being able to see one more birthday on this earth – something we take for granted until cancer. Overall, I am so grateful that I got to experience CancerCon in person, and I look forward to attending many more conferences in the future.
P.S. The staff was also so helpful in guiding me where I needed to go and helping in any way they could.
By : Chrystle White