Liz & Emily
Me and Emily, two awesome brain cancer survivors.

Stupid Cancer hosts weekend summit for the young adult cancer movement

At the OMG Summit for Young Adults in Las Vegas last weekend I made tons of new friends, learned about crazy disparities in the health care industry, and cried my share of tears.

The weekend was so awesome, I almost felt bad for my friends who don’t have cancer. (Note: family members, caregivers and supportive friends are allowed at OMG.)

Brain tumors, represent

Surprisingly, there were a ton of brain tumor survivors in attendance! I was stoked to see all our brethren, in various stages of health and treatment. We are a formidable crew, to say the least.

On one day they had the lunch tables set up by disease type and there were three huge tables full of brain cancer survivors. We were sharing war stories about surgeries, seizures and shunts. (There was even a whole slew of shunt-related jokes shared, but I can not repeat these here.) We pulled back bits of  hair on our heads to reveal some of the most amazing scars I’ve ever seen. (Actually, that’s not entirely true… some of the other cancer patients had incredible scars too.)

Cancer friends: IRL

Probably the most amazing moment of all was on the first night I was there. There was a kickoff event in a nightclub for all the young adult cancer survivors and halfway through a beautiful young woman walked up to me and said my name. It took me about five seconds to realize I was looking at Emily, a young brain cancer survivor I met 10 months ago via my blog. Emily is currently on Temodar, and we have been in communication through Facebook for a while. It was fun to hang out with her and experience her energy all weekend.

I met a number of cancer heroes I’ve only heard of, and communicated with, through the Internet: Matthew Zachary, founder and CEO of Stupid Cancer (and his minion, Kenny Kane), Jonny Imerman of Imerman’s Angels, and Loni, the infamous ChemoBabe. I also got to see Will Reiser speak (screenwriter of 50/50). Score!

In case you are jealous and wish you went to OMG, they are already planning for 2013. Rumor is that it might be in Vegas again.

The moral of the story is…

We might be spread all over the world, but there are inspirational people out there kicking cancer’s ass everyday. This gives me a huge beam of hope for all of us.