Huge congratulations to our winners! We look forward to welcoming our survivors Magdalena (Poland), Jarly (UK), Bojan (Macedonia), Andrea (Spain) and Radu (Romania) and their guests to Cluj-Napoca this August for UNTOLD Festival! Thanks again to the promoters, and if you weren’t lucky this time keep an eye out for future opportunities. More to come soon!
My name is Dragos-Cristian Finaru, I’m 30 years old and come from Bacau County which is in Romania. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma and finished treatment when I was 20 years old.
What do you recall from your cancer treatment, can you share any thoughts and feelings, even fears you had at the time? and what helped you during treatment?
First of all, I remember that I did not know what cancer meant – Not at all! All I knew was that if you’re diagnosed like this, with cancer, you have no chance of surviving. Perhaps this was one of the reasons why my parents did not tell me the diagnosis when they found out.
The first thing that I remember is that I had swollen lymph nodes in my neck. This started to make my colleagues look at me strangely, avoid me and distance themselves from me.
My body did not react very well to treatment, but it was something that had to be done. My veins burned, my hair fell off and my skin began to decay, sadly girls started to keep their distance. I was asked on the basketball field if I had AIDS and if I will die, and during the classes at university they asked me if I was not ashamed to stay on the same bench next to them.
However, I believe this experience opened my eyes in many ways.
In the oncology section, I remember my father standing beside my bed, praying and crying. I realized that the decisions I make are not only, “It’s my life and I’m doing what I want with it.” Everything that happens to me will also influence the lives of those around me, be they family or friends, or maybe only the people I will help in the future. I need to be more careful with my choices. If I will wear a seat belt, if I did not drink that extra glass of alcohol, if I will wear safety glasses, if ………
Of course, this was not the case here, but it is not about the examples, it is about what we do with our lives has a direct impact on others. And it’s a shame that we often only realise this when dramatic events take place.
You also realize that cancer can take away many of the things you care about, it can take the basketball ball from your hands, your free time, your hair! But there is one thing it cannot take away from you, it cannot take away the love of others for you.
There is that feeling when you hear the diagnosis for the first time, and you realise that it is true, it’s not a prank or a mistake, I really do have cancer! I asked myself, “Why me?” From all the people on the planet, why me? The strange thing is, I asked myself the same question when I received the news that the treatment was successful and I survived! I couldn’t help but ask again, “why me?”
I strongly believe that we should all ask ourselves this question more often, no matter who we are, a father, a sales person or a patient. Why should I be a role-model-father, why should I reach and overcome my obstacles, why should I be the one who walks out the oncology ward. We should try everything within our power to achieve being the best we can and to overcome the things that hold us back.
Otherwise, we will just complain about fate, no matter the context, the job or the situation.
What are you doing now with your life?
I studied biochemistry and psychology, and now I’m working at a learning and development company in Romania. I’m involved in all the projects and initiatives for learning and education I can find, from TEDx to the The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award program, projects involving young orphans to sick people and people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
You are involved in many youth incentives, can you share a little about this?
I believe that education is a silver bullet. Education is everything. Education as humans based on experiences made inside and outside the classroom, not only involving “grades”. Because the challenges we face as humans are more complex than ever. And now more than ever we need people to be willing to help and face the new challenges addressing this generation. Young people are the future, “the day after tomorrow” and they should be our most important strategic objective. Or, at least, this is my perspective, don’t know if I could do or be involved in something else 😊
How long have you been involved in the Duke of Edinburgh Award, and what do you do for the Award program?
I have been involved in the Duke of Edinburgh Award program in Romania since 2014, I started by becoming a leader and overseeing young people doing the Award program within my community. Later I became an International trainer and I train people to become leaders, mainly school teachers on how to provide the program to young people, later I became a Unit Coordinator, and also a Supervisor and Assessor of the Adventurous journey aspect of the Award Program. I fell in love with the program – you could say “it was love at first sight”
Any special stories you would like to share about your Duke of Edinburgh award program experience?
There are many stories. Watching the sunrise from a mountaintop, or to understand how important it is to say “I’m proud of you” to a young person can be, and how such a word could shape his or her life.
An interesting story took place last year during the training journey of team doing the gold award from the Duke of Edinburgh Award program. We were in a very arid and isolated area within the Dobrogea Mountains in Romania. We were just doing a final check with the team before starting our journey. We asked a person who just happened to be in the same area as us to take a picture of our team. He was an elderly person who only spoke English. I asked him where he was from and what he was doing for a living. He told me he came from the UK and was a geography teacher.
I asked him if he knew about the Duke of Edinburgh award program, at that moment he started to smile and told us how he was a supervisor within the award program 20 years ago. I told him there was a gold team in front of him, he started to get emotional and tear-up. He started to ask the young people the same things we were checking with them, making sure they had all the information before setting out on the adventurous journey.
The young people doing the award were so impressed that the same values and principles of the Award program are global.
Do you think the Duke of Edinburgh Award program can be used as a tool to help young people who are trying to get back to the routine of life after a cancer a treatment and why?
I don’t think, I know for sure – yes! The Duke of Edinburgh Award program would be a powerful tool to help youth survivors to start hoping and planning getting back to life. You are faced with so many doubts about the future, not-knowing how the treatment will end and what options will be available to you at the end.
The Award program provides direction, activities of personal growth and development, giving and receiving care and attention, experiencing progress and achieving goals, meeting new people and discovering new opportunities. It’s the perfect program to help someone get back on the track of life!
Thank you for taking the time to be interviewed, would you like to add anything else?
Above all, I want to thank Youth Cancer Europe for your time, effort and intentions, all your energy and all your good will. By being one of those who need it, I understand and feel the impact of your work.
You are the living proof of the title “We are the people we’ve been waiting for”. Indeed, we are. It depends on us to realize and to accept it.
“I really don’t want other people to suffer from cancer… no one, even the worst people on Earth do not deserve to suffer from cancer” – Anna from the Republic of Moldova.
Anna was only 15 when she was diagnosed with cancer. Doctors told her parents that she wouldn’t live more than 2 weeks, but that was 10 years ago… Today, Anna’s fight continues as she faces the after effects from the disease, something that patients are too often not informed correctly or enough about. Early supportive care can prevent the late onset of harsh side effects that have a huge impact on the quality of life of survivors, even ten or more years after chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Find out more about Anna’s powerful story in this video.
The young cancer survivors often suffer from depression and have a hard time finding their place in society. The first study made in Romania on the needs of the people in this category reflects this situation. Over 200 young people participated in Cluj-Napoca at the first national seminar on long-term effects of cancer.
The attention and fertility issues or the fear of relapse were some of the topics discussed at the meeting of cancer survivors and medical specialists.
Emanuel Schip, survivor: “It is good to know what’s going to happen next, so you can prepare yourself.”
Theodore Urziceanu, survivor: “The experiences of those who went through something like this could prove to be very useful.”
The young people who attended also helped by participating in a study whereby the specialists could better understand the profile and needs of someone who survived cancer.
Katie Rizvi, founder of the Little People Romania: “It is a study that has never been done before. The most important thing the young people are concerned about is their fertility and the possibility of having children after cancer treatment. ”
The results also show that 20 percent of those who defeated the disease still suffer from chronic pain and experience difficulties in learning, while nearly 60 percent experience emotional difficulties and some of them even depression. 19 percent of those aged over 18 do not work and do not study and 16 percent face discrimination in the workplace.
Rodica Cosnarovici, Head of Pediatric Oncology Department in the Cluj Oncology Institute: “I think the most common problems that they face are psychological and reintegration problems“.
The doctors suggested that the Ministry of Health could also come to their aid, by developing a national pediatric oncology program at a national level.
Gheorghe Popa, pediatric oncologist: “Financing oncology programs for adults does not fully meet the children’s needs, as child cancer patients have special needs.”
Originally published on 12th Dec 2015 via http://www.digi24.ro/Stiri/Digi24/Lejer/Sanatate/Supravietuitorii+cancerului+isi+cauta+locul+in+societate
205 young people who have completed their cancer treatment will participate on December 12th at the First National Seminar on Long-Term Effects of Cancer Treatment in Young Cancer Survivors organized by the Little People Association Romania in Cluj-Napoca.
The event, a first of its kind in Romania, will take place from 09.00 – 11.00 at the Grand Hotel Napoca, Cluj-Napoca, in the Forum Hall, on December 12th. The seminar addresses young people who have gone through the cancer treatment experience in their childhood or adolescence. Specialists in pediatric oncology confirmed their presence at this event, where they will be answering questions from the young cancer survivors.
“Tumors may disappear, but according to a survey from the Little People Association with young cancer survivors aged 17-31 as respondents, almost 20% of them suffer from chronic pain, have trouble learning and concentrating, while nearly 60% complain of emotional and mental exhaustion, and some of them even depression. Young people don’t have adequate information available to them on how to access social benefits, 19% of them aged over 18 are not working and not studying, 16% report discrimination at work or school. While data from all over the EU clearly shows that this group is at a high risk of developing long-term effects of cancer treatment or secondary cancers, there is no standardized long-term tracking and caring system for young survivors. Many of them go for regular checkups at the pediatrician, but most of them are lost in the whole medical process for young patients. “said Katie Rizvi, founder of the Little People Romania.
The attendees are registered members of the Temerarii Club – the Romanian Community of Young Cancer Survivors® founded by the Little People Association Romania in 2006.
The young survivors will also be delighted to participate for the eighth consecutive year at the Temerarii Christmas Gala. The theme of this year’s edition is Ice Ball. They will celebrate their victory over cancer, in Cluj-Napoca, the city where this community, the largest of its kind in Europe, was founded.
The Ice Ball – Temerarii Christmas Gala – will take place on December 12th, 2015 in the Grand Hotel Napoca, Cluj-Napoca, starting at 19:30. Media representatives are invited to raise a glass of champagne in honor of the young cancer survivors’ victory, at the event’s reception.
What Temerarii means today is more than 400 young people aged 14-30 years from over 123 localities in Romania who, from the moment they won the fight against cancer, have become true heroes, writing and rewriting daily a success story, being a true inspiration for those who now wage the same battle.
The Temerarii community is the founder of Youth Cancer Europe network – a European communication and initiative platform for the young people diagnosed with cancer, developed in 2014, with partners from 15 European countries.
Originally published 11th Dec 2015 via http://galasocietatiicivile.ro/stiri/sanatate/premiera-in-romania-seminar-national-despre-efectele-pe-termen-lung-ale-tratamentului-oncologic-la-tinerii-supravietuitori-de-cancer-15748.html