AYA after their evening of pampering at Beautiful You by Profile in February 2020

It is safe to say that 2020 has not played out the way that any of us may have envisioned it to be.

Before the unexpected that was thrown our way, AYA members were, thankfully, able to participate in a handful of social gatherings early on in the year before the stay-at-home order brought social gatherings to a halt. We did journey writing and intuitive collaging together (thanks to an amazing program partner, Shamama Group), went to a Griffins game, played trivia at Village Inn Pizza, and got pampered with massages, manicures and facials by the ladies at Beautiful You by Profile. I am so grateful we were able to have those experiences together before we had to shift our lives to strictly virtual. But I, along with the rest of the world, am also so grateful for the video chat platform, Zoom, that made it possible for us to stay connected as best we could.

Although we had awesome plans for the group for the months right in the thick of Covid-19 that we had to cancel, we had virtual hang outs and game nights on a weekly basis in April and May to stay connected to one another. AYA started off with picking a movie each week to watch on our own time and then would come together on Zoom to talk about it, which usually just ended up in an hour of us talking about how quarantine was going and how crazy the whole thing was… and still is. Somehow at the time we truly thought this would all be over with by summer and we would be back to hanging out together in person. Now we know, that is definitely not the case.

Being isolated is not too far out of the ordinary for our members. They have all experienced it while going through treatment and many continue to have to be extra cautious on a daily basis due to having a compromised immune system. Their words of wisdom and positivity through the isolation and loneliness of Covid-19 was a significant source of support not only for me, but for the rest of our group.

On a more positive note, we have had some pretty exciting things happen for our members throughout quarantine. Two of our members, who met through AYA, got engaged! We are beyond happy for them and look forward to this journey in their lives. Another one of our members is off to Ohio for a year to complete the final step in her chosen career as a Medical Dosimetrist. We will miss her but we are so proud of her and will be anxiously awaiting her return! Another member officially completed treatment during these crazy times.

There is always a silver lining somewhere. We will all come out of this stronger than ever.. we also hope we get out of these unprecedented times sooner than later because we have a Fall line-up of events to get to!

Kelsey Sankovic – Project Administrator