This weekend is the first of several cancer related conferences I’ll be attending in the next few weeks – the OMG2014 Summit put together by StupidCancer.org specifically for young adult patients and survivors.
I attending last year with one of my best friends/”brain buds” from LA and met some amazing people. This year, I’m incredibly lucky that the non-profit group Voices Against Brain Cancer has sponsored my trip. So far, not only have I been able to reconnect in person with some of the people I met last year, this morning I FINALLY got to meet Catherine (@Cblotner_ on Twitter, moderator of our #btsm chats) face-to-face! (I WILL get a good photo of us at some point this weekend.)
Today’s intro included Kenny Kane and John Sabia wheeling in the Road Trip car onto the stage. (I attended the SoCal meet-up last week, seeing the car in action, and met some awesome people who unfortunately couldn’t make it to the conference.)
Matthew Zachary gave us a quick rundown of his personal cancer history, following the recent ABC story (I’ll link this once I’m at a computer). He shared some teaser video from the new ABC Family series ‘Chasing Life’ about a young adult cancer survivor, where Stupid Cancer signage and philosophy is featured. And he gave us some information about the new app Instapeer that is in development, which will help young adults find and connect with each other. The app is reliant on crowdfunding, and you can find out more about it on Indiegogo.
Last year, the Social Impact award was given to Andrew Jenks. This year, it was awarded to another Andrew – one that I’m particularly fond of – Andrew McMahon! They played his video ‘Swim’ and he talked briefly about fertility and his new role as a father.
Later in the day I attending the session “Stupid Chemicals” with the speakers Lindsay Dahl (Safer Chemicals/Healthy Families), Nancy Buermeyer (Breast Cancer Fund), and Katie Huffling RN, MS, CNM (Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments). These women spoke about the need for more regulation about the chemicals that are in our food, cleaning products, furniture, air, etc. as they have an impact on our bodies (can be found in blood, urine, breast milk). (Side note: While I know DC politics can be harry, I’m excited that I’m headed to DC to talk to my representatives in the next week, and hearing from these professionals that personal stories are what often have the most impact on legislation definitely makes me more excited about the event and my ability to help in some way.)
Anyway, some resources to check out regarding chemicals, and safer products: stupidchemicals.org, safecosmetics.org, the Twitter @saferchemicals, and the Smartphone app Think Dirty, which will scan a product barcode and give you a rating of cleanliness.
I’m about to walk out the door to meet up with some old and new friends, but just a quick note on the “swag bag”. While this may be just something other cancer survivors or those with a chronic illness will appreciate, I literally gasped out loud to an empty room out of joy upon seeing a dual sided (day and night) pill box! I’m always looking for these that are functional and not the size of my entire bathroom counter. This is pencil box size and perfect. Thank you, Stupid Cancer!