Hi! My name is Justina. I’m a 29-year-old communication specialist and member of the Lithuanian Cancer Patient Coalition from Vilnius, Lithuania. I’m also a loving mom and blogger, writing about the “adventures“ of raising a toddler. It was a few weeks after my baby‘s first birthday that I was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma. I was 28 then.
YCE’s #removelabels campaign is very important to me because despite having a very supportive family, friends and colleagues, sometimes I still feel like I have a sticker on my forehead saying: “Attention! She had cancer”. I know there are a lot of cancer survivors in my country who feel the same way.
I remember one lady once looked at me with pity in her eyes and told me: “You do understand, that you‘re not going to live for another 30 years…“ It hurt and still does, a lot. Because I want to believe that I’m going to live for another 30 or even more happy years, to see my son graduating from college, getting married; and I want to become a grandmother.
I still believe that I’m going to have another child, a baby girl maybe, and that our family will live a long, happy life. I’m going to pursue my career and show that I’m so much more than a cancer label.
I‘m really happy to be involved with YCE, because I believe that I can help to change people’s attitudes towards cancer patients and survivors both in my home country and across Europe. It needs to change, because the time when cancer can be cured and people can expect to live a long life after a diagnosis has already come. We need to start thinking long-term and #removelabels.