The Power of Mentoring Others With Breast Cancer | MyBCTeam

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The Power of Mentoring Others With Breast Cancer

Written by Lisa Wu
Posted on November 20, 2020

Having any type of cancer can be tough, but working through those challenges with others can make the journey a little less difficult. Here at MyBCTeam, we’re driven by our mission to help people connect to those who understand.

We’re expanding the scope of our mission by partnering with Imerman Angels, a nonprofit organization that offers people with cancer, previvors, and caregivers from around the world the chance to connect with a Mentor Angel who has been through similar challenges.

Together, we can change the way we live with breast cancer by guaranteeing that no one has to go through this journey alone.

About Imerman Angels

When Jonny Imerman was first diagnosed with cancer at age 26, he wasn’t sure who to talk to. Jonny had a valuable network of family and friends, but he wanted to speak with someone who had experience with his diagnosis and could offer personal advice for all the twists and turns of life with cancer.

As a result, Jonny began to imagine a program that creates one-on-one connections between people like him and those who have been in their shoes before. He founded Imerman Angels in 2003 for that purpose. Now, the Mentor Angels program is a centerpiece of Imerman Angels’ mission. The Mentor Angels are a diverse group of previvors, cancer survivors, and caregivers. Over 11,706 mentors and 28,659 mentees have participated worldwide (as of June 2020), and the program is continuing to grow.

Why Mentoring Matters

Both Imerman Angels and MyBCTeam offer support for every individual, no matter where they are. Our missions complement each other, allowing those with cancer to both connect to a broader community and develop peer-to-peer relationships.

Social connections have been shown to improve overall health and longevity, especially as people age. Many mentors have found it extremely meaningful to pass the knowledge that they’ve gained to others. For some, it’s become a huge part of their lives.

More than 40 criteria are used to match Mentor Angels with mentees, including demographic information, cancer history, and treatment. All information is kept confidential and is never shared with anyone except the person you agree to support.

Each potential mentor works with a staff member of Imerman Angels to get screened and trained.

“My Mentor Angel was just what I needed when getting ready to lose my hair,” said Julie, a mentee with Imerman Angels. “She is so kind, knowledgeable, and totally makes herself available to me whenever we communicate. I feel totally comfortable to call or text her when I need anything or just want to chat. I appreciate her support so much! She is amazing!”

Karla, a mentee who later became a Mentor Angel, said, “My Mentor Angel saved me from my darkest moment and taught me how to keep living. I hope by sharing my experiences, I can do the same for someone else.”

Get Connected

To get started as a Mentor Angel, either as a cancer previvor, survivor, or caregiver, follow these seven steps:

  1. Visit imermanangels.org and click “become a mentor angel.”
  2. Fill out a brief online registration form.
  3. In one business day, an Imerman Angels representative will be in touch.
  4. Start your Mentor Angels training. Imerman Angels will reach out when they find someone requesting support on the experiences you have shared.
  5. After you’ve been matched with a mentee, introduce yourself. From there on out, the two of you can set your own pace, whether it’s connecting via weekly conversations or just answering the occasional question.
  6. Keep the momentum going. Share MyBCTeam as an additional resource to maintain engagement between calls.
  7. Three weeks after the match, you will receive a follow-up survey. You can also share how your connection is going with your match in the comments below to inspire others!
Posted on November 20, 2020
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Lisa Wu is pursuing a Bachelor of Science at Yale University in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology. Learn more about her here.

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