Be the Boss Over Cancer

Yesterday's MashableSpotlight article, Wedding, Career, Chemo: When Cancer Derails the Millennial Dreamhighlighted the story of Jenna Benn. She's a 29-year-old from Chicago, who's life was falling into place: a great job, friends, and new apartment--when she found out she was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of blood cancer called gray zone lymphoma. 

Young adults not only face the challenge of starting to establish or grow a career, they have many other unique struggles that are highlighted in the article: careers, friends, family, dating, and fertility. You can read the full article here.  

Below are a few excerpts from the story:

"Young adults battling cancer must face tortuous questions: Will my boyfriend or girlfriend abandon me to the demands of my disease? Can my friends relate to me anymore?"

"Four weeks later, Jenna discovered she had a rare and aggressive form of blood cancer: gray zone lymphoma. The disease affected about 300 known patients in the U.S. at the time. “I felt so overwhelmed by emotion that I needed to put it somewhere.” Jenna knew she had to write. Her blog Kill it in the Butt! was cathartic and raw, with glimpses of pain and confusion: “The body that I had known for 29 years was no longer my own,” she wrote in her first entry. “I felt deeply betrayed.” The blog also bore the marks of determination, optimism and even humor. To Jenna, being open with her illness and creating a community through blogging was typical of who she was. “I believe people deal with cancer in the same way they deal with life. You might see a slight exaggeration of how people are.” Dr. Bolte agrees. Who patients are before cancer — their resilience, life experience and outlook — plays a huge part in how they tend to confront the experience. Not surprisingly, then, Jenna’s response mirrored how her generation is relating to their respective illnesses, mainly by connecting with each other."

"Although Jenna’s life changed profoundly after cancer, the milestones she’d left behind were still within reach. Her boss was very understanding; he asked a counselor to meet with Jenna's colleagues so they could voice their expectations and fears for their coworker. She could log in to work at night and arrive when she felt up to it."

You can join Jenna, Mashable, Cancer and Careers, and a few others on a live Twitter chat Tomorrow, Friday, March 28, at 1:30 p.m. ET, to discuss some of the biggest questions regarding millennials and cancer. All you have to do is tweet using the hashtag #YAcancer. 

For more information for young adults working through cancer, check out previous blog posts on the topic, this career coach post, and these resources for young adults


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