Resources for Adolescents and Young Adults (AYAs)
Teenagers who are being treated for cancer have emotional and social needs that are different than their younger counterparts. They're facing a frightening diagnosis and treatment during what is already a time of great physical, social and emotional change. For these patients, CHOP offers unique resources that are tailored to meet the needs of adolescents and young adults.
AYA Patient Steering Committee
The AYA Patient Steering Committee is made up of adolescent and young adult cancer patients and survivors, and psychosocial and child life specialists from CHOP. The group addresses the unique concerns of AYAs and provides a community for children in this age group who have been treated for cancer. Their goals are to:
Establish connections with other AYAs treated for cancer through various means.
Promote awareness of adolescent and young adult cancer in the community.
Increase awareness of and promotion of resources available for AYAs.
Provide mentorship to newly diagnosed patients and younger AYAs
Change the hospital environment to make it more AYA-friendly.
Assess the wants and needs of the broader AYA cancer community.
Fundraise to increase AYA resources and programming and help other causes.
Programming for teens with cancer
A number of CHOP programs cater to teens and young adults with cancer. Some were developed for the Cancer Center by the AYA committee and others are available hospital-wide.
Facebook discussion group
The AYA Committee created a private Facebook group for adolescent and young adult cancer patients treated at CHOP. It's a place to discuss all things cancer: the experience of diagnosis, the challenges of treatment, life before and after cancer and much more. Regularly scheduled online discussions and casual communication through wall posts connect AYAs with other teens who are going through similar cancer-related challenges. For an invitation to join this private Facebook group, email Lamia Barakat.
Teens who are at the Wood Center for treatment can now spend their down time in one of our new teen-friendly lounges (outpatient on 4 South, inpatient on 3 East). These spaces are away from the main waiting area, and set up for older patients to gather on the couch and watch TV, play PlayStation, read and talk.
Art and music
Art and music therapists with expertise in AYA lead individual and group therapy sessions in the Wood Center. And our Artist-in-Residence is on the unit once a week to make art with patients of all ages.
Seacrest Studios is an interactive broadcast multi-media center housed in the Colket Atrium that offers many opportunities for AYA involvement: be the DJ, interview celebrities, attend live broadcasts, request songs and compete in the annual Battle of the Bands.
More resources for teens and young adults
- The National GRACE Foundation provides free college admissions and financial aid counseling to high-school and college-aged children and their families who are dealing with issues related to pediatric cancer. The program also offers one-on-one counseling to families, and acts as an advocate and liaison with schools for families.
- Martial Arts Therapy offers free classes for young people with cancer and other disabilities, and teaches students pain/fear management, physical rehabilitation and deep relaxation skills while offering emotional and spiritual support as the patients actively participate in their healing process.
- Brenda Mehling Cancer Fund supports patients 18-40 currently undergoing cancer treatment with services to meet daily needs. Provides help with co-payments, temporary housing and other expenses for those temporarily unable to pay for expenses.
- CancerCare for Young Adults offers specialized services for young adults, caregivers and those who have lost a loved one.
- Coping with Chemo helps teens with cancer navigate their chemotherapy treatments through education and by fostering connections with others through blogging and chat rooms.
- For Pete's Sake provides young adults and their families a retreat from the unyielding physical and emotional demands of cancer by providing a one-week, expense-paid excursion in a comfortable, secure environment.
- Fertile Hope is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing reproductive information and support to cancer patients and survivors whose medical treatments put them at risk for infertility.
- First Descents provides whitewater kayaking and other outdoor adventure experiences to promote emotional, psychological and physical healing for young adults with cancer.
- Group Loop provides online support, information and resources for teens living with cancer and their families.
- I’m Too Young for This Cancer Foundation is an all-inclusive young adult cancer community.
- Imerman Angels is a one-on-one cancer support service that connects a person fighting cancer with a survivor who has beaten the same type of cancer.
- Team IMPACT is a non-profit chartered to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening illnesses. Core to its model is harnessing the power of teamwork by matching these courageous kids with college athletic teams. Team IMPACT children are drafted onto local college athletic teams and become an official member of the team for the duration of their treatment and beyond.
- 2bMe is a resource for teens with cancer that provides information on non-medical topics, from skin and hair issues to fitness and friends.
- Critical Mass is a coalition of organizations which have the collective goal to improve survival rates and quality of life for young adults with cancer.
- Planet Cancer is an online community for people in their 20s and 30s with cancer.
- Prepare to Live is the only non-profit, charitable organization founded and managed by cancer survivors, dedicated to using the power of the web and documentary-style filmmaking to provide Help, Hope, Information and Inspiration™ specifically to Young Adults coping with cancer worldwide.
- Starbright World is an online social network for teens with chronic and life-threatening illnesses and their siblings.
- Young (cancer) Spouses is a place to get practical information from other young cancer spouses about the issues facing young couples fighting cancer.
Senator Pat Toomey discusses teen cancer
Senator Pat Toomey spoke at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia on Friday, Jan. 18 to kick off Teen Cancer Awareness Week. The Senator cosponsored a bipartisan resolution for the awareness week, with the goal of bringing greater attention to ways that teens experience cancer differently than their younger counterparts. During his visit, Senator Toomey was interviewed in Seacrest Studios by some of the teens and young adults who have been treated at the Cancer Center at CHOP.