The second National Women’s Survivors Convention is this weekend at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, TN. Last year’s convention was an amazing experience! The National Women’s Survivor Convention provides education, inspiration, community, and fun for all its attendees by bringing together survivors, healthcare professionals, and cancer support organizations.
Looking back on last year’s convention, I have a lot of great memories. Olympic figure skater and cancer survivor, Scott Hamilton, spoke on his experience with cancer during one of the Empowerment Sessions. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house, both from laughing and crying. I got to meet a fellow melanoma survivor whose experience was very similar to mine. The Empowerment Sessions, in general, helped me learn more about the great resources available to cancer survivors and the unique struggles they face.
My favorite memory actually comes from another one of the Empowerment Sessions. Suleika Jaouad is the author of The New York Times’ blog Life, Interrupted and is my favorite young adult cancer blogger. She facilitated one of the empowerment sessions I attended. I have to admit I was star struck at first. Jaouad turned her diagnosis into an opportunity the opportunity to advocate for other young women. To me, Jaouad’s story is the epitome of making the best of a bad situation. You can’t control the things that happen to you, but you can control how you respond to them.
In the Empowerment Session, Jaouad and her fellow presenter opened the session by sharing their stories, but then turned it over to members of the audience to share. This format made me realize it was silly of me to be star struck. Although I respect and draw inspiration from Jaouad’s work, we are very similar. She is a cancer survivor who wants help other cancer survivors, and so am I. If she can advocate for young women’s health, so can I!
I’m looking forward to creating more memories and making more connections at the National Women’s Survivor Convention this year. Check out PearlPoint on Facebook and Twitter for updates. If you are at the convention, come visit me in “Survivorville!”