Returning to Life
Through comprehensive workshops and retreats, we provide long term support for young adults who have previously participated in Larger than Life, have recovered from their illness, and are now transitioning from adolescence into adulthood.
1000 young adults are diagnosed with cancer annually. In addition to the lengthy physical recovery from cancer, they also need time and assistance in their emotional recovery.
The cancer struck them at an age meant for social development, when they were meant to learn how to build strong relationships and communicate effectively with their peers. In addition, many of them were unable to take advantage of critical educational opportunities due to their constant trips to the hospital,
These young adults need guidance as they reenter life — both socially and sometimes professionally. They are fearful of the future and often feel inadequate in building long term relationships with peers.
Returning to Life offers the support young adults recovering from cancer need as they transition back into normal life.
The program is a long term support group that empowers young adults, ages 18 to 30, in social and professional matters. The participants partake in workshops and outdoor activities to rebuild both their mental and physical self confidence, as they bond with their peers who are experiencing difficult challenges similar to their own.
The support group coordinator uses an emotional process that enables the participants to address two key issues:
- Body: The participants have a complex and damaged relationship with their body that needs to be addressed and carefully restored. Some young adults could have deformities and scarring, which could lead to struggles in intimacy; they are in great need of rebuilding their self confidence. These support groups help them learn to accept their imperfections, and love their body for its strength in overcoming their illness.
- Time: The participants learn how to build and navigate the routine of a normal life. Most participants have had to put life on hold for 1 to 3 years because of their illness, and require guidance in adjusting back to a life without constant medical treatments and doctor’s appointments.
The program’s activities consist of monthly support groups directed by professionally trained group facilitators. These facilitators address topics such as intimacy, career development, relationships, family, and body; whatever the need is, the support is there for each individual to feel comfortable enough to address.
In addition to workshops, we offer fun programs to create a tight bond between our participants.
The groups celebrate birthdays and holidays together, attend cooking classes, go camping, ride ATVs, embark on long hikes, and learn to sail together. While some programs are simply for relaxation and enjoyment, others are meant to challenge their mental and physical capabilities in an effort to help them reclaim their self confidence.
The Highlight of the Program:
After mastering the skills they’ve learned in our workshops, the group travels to Holland to sail the North Sea. They sail the ship on their own, doing all that is required as a unit: setting the sails, cooking, cleaning, and boat maintenance.
This sailing adventure allows for the young adults to enjoy adventure, and build self confidence and physical strength. It gives them group the opportunity to be leaders, to work through challenges, and to establish trust with their peers. It is an opportunity for individual growth, though guidance counselors are always available to support them when emotions run high and confidence is low.
Cost of sending one young adult on this program
At least 40 young adults join this program annually, and the number is increasing every year with 50% of those adults later returning as volunteers to support this initiative.
With your help, we can continue to support Israeli young adults as they make the difficult transition from having cancer in their youth to enjoying freedom in adulthood.