Everybody knows how cancer affects people and the ones around them, their lives, their dynamics and their self-esteem. Some people have been fortunate in their lives because they have never had contact with cancer, or with someone that has had cancer. It is difficult for everyone: for the family, for the patient, for the people around the patient, for friends and even for the doctors.
One thing surely helps (and in almost any case): being around somebody to talk to, to cry, to question, to show frustration. In other words, a family member or a friend. And while this is a very good help for the patient, sometimes friends or family don’t have or don’t understand certain information. Here is where this amazing charity jumps in and provides a very good aid for patients and people around them.
Imerman Angels (www.imermanangels.org) is a charity that is providing an amazing “matching” service for cancer patients and the people around them. They provide personalized connections that enable one-on-one support among cancer fighters, survivors and caregivers. In other words, they are bringing the cancer community together, whether you are a patient or you can just help. They work on the idea that companion and understanding are very important to overcome any disease or obstacle in life, and they make sure that people that need this companion in the hard moment of a cancer disease will get the best one to one help that a person needs and deserves. Through their very original matching process, this charity is matching anyone seeking cancer support with someone just like them, with their same process or the same view of the disease or the moment or with the same story. In other words, a “Mentor Angel”. A Mentor Angel is a cancer survivor or caregiver who is the same age, same gender, and most importantly who has faced the same type of cancer as the patient that will be provided with an angel.
They provide the service for free and help anyone touched by any type of cancer, at any cancer stage level, at any age, living anywhere in the world, and with as much doubts, questions and frustrations as them. The idea is that These one-on-one relationships can give the patient and anyone touched by cancer (caregivers, friends, family) the opportunity of asking as many personal, general and medical related questions as they want to someone who has been there before and knows first-hand what could or can be going on better than anyone. It is not only about “being there”, which is also important, but it is also about giving support and empathy and help cancer fighters and caregivers navigate the system and choose the best route, determine their options and create their own routine and system to deal with any stage of the illness. Even for caregivers, because they also experience feelings similar to those of the person facing cancer and have many questions on how to deal with new situations or personal issues that may be important. Mentor Angels can relate to all this while being sensitive to the experience and situation.
The Imerman Angels story comes from the mind Jonny Imerman, a cancer fighter and survivor that at the age of 26 years was diagnosed with testicular cancer and began the fight of his life and saw how his life changed all of a sudden. Using his experience he realized there was something missing. Fortunately, he was lucky enough to have his family and friends around him to help with whatever was needed, which was very important, but never met anyone his age who was a cancer survivor. There were some things that could only be asked to someone your own age about testicular cancer without getting embarrassed or feeling uncomfortable. Jonny was looking for someone who had had similar experiences and that truly understood, and that was intimately familiar with his experience. He also saw that there were a lot of people that were willing to help, but no one with his cancer or that could answer his specific questions. In short, he was looking for someone who had already faced the same type of cancer and knew how to handle it. From this entire journey and the lack of segmented and well allocated companion, the idea of starting a channel and a way of connecting the right people with the right patient was born in the year 2003. Soon after this, all the experience, the idea and the approach came together to form Imerman Angels.
Imerman Angels is a charity that goes beyond just allocating a person, they make sure it is the right person and with the right experience to fully understand all the questions and doubts that patients and caregivers have.
You can also see another charity in the chicago area right here