David Victorson, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Social Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine and a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University’s multidisciplinary group working to promote clinical and research initiatives for our young adult cancer patients. A licensed health psychologist, Victorson is also Founder and Executive Director of True North Treks, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting young adult cancer survivors by connecting with nature, other survivors, and oneself. Below is a blog from David regarding an event this weekend supporting cancer patients.
Stand up paddleboarding, a combination of surfing and paddling, is an increasingly popular water recreation activity. Even if you’ve never done it before, this event has something for you. In addition to adult heats for men and women, there will be a mixed-gender adolescent heat and a kid’s sprint. A SUP clinic will also be offered for those who just want to try out a board and get their feet wet without joining the competition. You can still be out on beautiful Lake Michigan paddling around and know that by simply being there you’re helping a young adult cancer survivor.
Nearly 70,000 individuals between the ages of 15 and 39 are diagnosed with cancer each year. Early in my career as a health psychologist and researcher, I worked with some young adult cancer patients who had a profound effect on me, maybe because we were around the same age, but also because their lives seemed to be affected in such different ways compared to the older adult cancer patients I saw. This age group has been referred to as being “lost in transition” when they finish treatment and enter survivorship because of all of the important life events, decisions and milestones that were either significantly interrupted or abandoned all together.
Funds raised will support the initiatives of True North Treks and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, and members of “Critical Mass: The Young Adult Cancer Alliance”, who aim to raise awareness and effect positive change for young adults with cancer. Sponsoring organizations include Surfrider Foundation - Chicago Chapter, Kayak Chicago, Athleta Chicago, and Pacifico Cerveza.
The race begins at 9 a.m., followed by the beginners’ clinic and other activities, and a post-race awards ceremony and celebration of young adult cancer survivors (YACS) will be held at the Dock Restaurant where the Chicago band, South of 80, will perform.
Beginners and families are welcome and rentals will be available as part of registration. Click here for details and registration.