The following is from part of an online article called “Friends in Need – Online social media promote connection, education, and support” by Karen Patterson

“A survey last fall by Manhattan Research found about 35 percent of U.S. adults use online support sites and other health-related social media. In just two years, the American Cancer Society has developed followings of more than 16,000 people on Twitter, and nearly 170,000 on Facebook.

“Everybody agrees that social media and the Internet are becoming very important in terms of public health issues,” says John Mack, executive editor and publisher of Pharma Marketing News and Pharma Marketing Blog. “It’s where people now go to first when they’re trying to find out about medical conditions, even before they talk to their doctor.”

One key attraction is that any person, anywhere—whether they are a patient, survivor, caregiver, family member, or friend—can find someone else in similar circumstances.

“The Internet in general and, more recently, social media are really what led to the whole young adult movement,” says Heidi Adams, founder of Planet Cancer, a social and informational site for young adults with cancer, and director of grassroots engagement for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. “Prior to 2000 there really wasn’t any way for this fragmented patient population to find each other and connect. Planet Cancer was created as an online home to connect patients.”

Thyroid Cancer SURVIVOR’s thoughts:  If you are reading this post, chances are that you are also part of one of the hundreds of social media sites.  I admit it.  I have spread my cancer survivor spirit out into a few of them.  And in turn, I have “friended” and “followed” some very inspiring cancer survivors.  There are several “virtual” cancer survivor support groups on Facebook and today I started my own called the “Cancer SURVIVORS” group on Facebook. So consider this your personal invitation  to join the group!  

If tweeting is your thing, I also have an account on Twitter.  I have been active on this one for a few months now.  I was surprised at how many people talk about thyroid cancer on their.  I have met some very cool cancer survivors, including my friend Chris who is the captain of our Wings of Hope team in the upcoming American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life! So feel free to follow me on Twitter and we can connect in 140 characters or less.

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Wings of Hope Week 12 Update
2/15/10 – 2/21/10
*This update was written by our team Captain Chris Kidwell

 

The heat is on! There are only 54 days left until the Relay for Life at Johns Hopkins

 
As of February 20, 2010
 
University. We are 60% of the way to our goal with a total of $2,991.00. Who is going to be the person to break the $3,000.00 mark? Will it be you?

Again, if you haven’t all ready, I encourage our team members to log in to their participant centers on the ACS website and start updating their personal pages for donations. There is also an application on facebook that will help you with meeting your $100 personal goals. Both of these tools will provide donators with official receipts from the American Cancer Society.

We have a lot of exciting things happening the first week of March!

Thursday, March 4th from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m., we are holding our own bake sale at Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center, 601 N Caroline Street, Baltimore, MD. We need food donations and volunteers to help us run our booth. You do not have to be a team member to help us, our supporters are just as important as our relayers. Please contact Angel (angelmcmellin@live.com) or myself (chrisp730@yahoo.com) if you want to help.

Friday, March 5th from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., there is a relay wide fundraiser at Johns Hopkins University. We need volunteers and fundraising ideas. If you are interested or want more information, please contact me at chrisp730@yahoo.com.

Saturday, March 6th at 11:30 a.m. we have a team meeting at M&S Grill, 201 E Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD. This is an open meeting, so if you have joined team Wings of Hope yet please join us.

We are currently holding two online fundraisers: The first contest is all thanks to our wonderful friends and supporters at Dear Thyroid. We are encouraging the Dear Thyroid community to form fundraising teams to help us in our goal for the American Cancer Society. The first team to raise $3,000 wins TEN free “Invisible No More” bracelets; the first team to raise $1,500.00 wins FIVE free bracelets; the first team to raise $750.00 wins THREE free bracelets; and the first team to raise $500.00 wins TWO free bracelets. For more information, contact me or visit us at http://main.acsevents.org/goto/wings2010. The contest ends March 16th!

As of February 20, 2010
Our second online fundraiser is to reward one lucky team member. The first team member to raise $500 between February 7th and February 28th wins a $25 Macy’s Gift Card. Will it be Jennifer Bridge, Rachel Markus or Samantha Kidwell? Go to http://main.acsevents.org/goto/wings2010 and donate in honor of your favorite team member today!

We would like to welcome our newest team member: Melissa Lorenzo. Welcome to the team!

As of February 20, 2010
 
As always, we would like to thank the generous souls who donated to Wings of Hope this week: Danielle Collins, Elena Primost, Robyn Goode, Karen Welsh-Mulachy, and Lisa Hensley.
It is crunch time. We need the support of everyone: our team members, our supporters, and our communities to ensure our success. As you can see, there are numerous opportunities to support Wings of Hope, so send us an email today!

Until next week,

Wings of Hope

Some may call it six degrees of separation, the butterfly effect or good timing, but I call it a small world.   Here’s the cool little story.  About a year ago, I started “tweeting” on the international social networking site called Twitter.  At the time I had just been diagnosed with having papillary thyroid cancer and was tweeting all about it.  That’s where I “virtually” met Chris Prestano.  She had also been recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer.  So we had a common bond.  (Now keep in mind that Twitter has millions of people on the site from all over the world.  What are the odds of Chris and I connecting?)

Chris and I eventually became friends on Facebook as well.  We needed a place that gave us more than 140 characters at a time to message back and forth!  We emailed and IM’d over the course of several months, keeping each other updated on our progress and treatments. 

I soon discovered that Chris was living in NYC and traveling to Johns Hopkins Hospital for her doctor’s appointments, treatments and all the other fun things we get to do when being treated for thyroid cancer.  Well that might not seem like such a big deal to you, but it was to me.  Why? Because I was also was going to Johns Hopkins Hospital for my treatment during that time!  Well that’s just the beginning, so read on…

Chris told me about an organization called ThyCa and how they had monthly thyroid cancer support meetings in Baltimore, MD.  This sounded great to me and it close enough for me to drive there.  I really wanted to connect with other people face to face who had experience to share about thyroid cancer.  I decided to go to my first ThyCa meeting in November.  Chris was going to be in town that same week, so we decided to meet at the meeting.  It was nice to finally meet her in person.  We went to lunch after the meeting and spent a couple hours sharing “our stories” and our ups and downs.  What strong women we are!  During lunch, we were talking about cancer fundraisers and how thyroid cancer is in the shadows of it all.  I mean how often do you see people walking around with a ribbon for thyroid cancer? Exactly!  We wanted to do something.  Chris mentioned the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and it sounded really interesting to me.  So that is when the seed was planted for what has now turned into our “Wings of Hope” team.

I was contacted by the wonderful Katie Schwartz, Founder of the amazing site Dear Thyroid to write a post on my blog in December for their upcoming “Thyoliday Blues and Truths” series. When Katie asked me to pick a date for Dear Thyroid to post it on their site, I went with December 1.  

It seemed like all of these “thybulous” things started to snowball.  Chris got more info about Relay for Life and registered our team. Angel (another thyroid cancer survivor and ThyCa meeting attendee) joined our team and we were super excited!  It was actually coming together.  And it just so happens that Dear Thyroid had been in contact with Chris and offered to provide us with shirts for Relay for Life!  

So December 1 came around and my blog post was on the first page of the Dear Thyroid site!  What a proud moment that was for me. (Here’s where it all comes back together again.)  I scrolled down and the very next post was one titled, “Chris Prestano, Thyroid Cancer Survivor & Fighter Is Racing For A Cure” written about Chris and our Wings of Hope Relay for Life team!!! What? Are you kidding me?  I just happened to pick December 1 for Dear Thyroid to put my blog post on their site and it was the same day that they posted the one Chris wrote about our team.  Oh come on!!!

So that’s the cool little story about how Chris and I were brought together by thyroid cancer and joined forces to kick cancer’s ass.  It’s a small world!