By: Stephanie Seban
In March of 2018, myself and my Thriver sis Nalie Agustin hosted a meetup in Santa Monica in the hotel lobby of Casa Del Mar. She was visiting me from Montreal and it was my last month living in my hometown of Los Angeles before I moved across country to New York. We planned it pretty last minute with the help of my best friend and Thrive Gang co-founder Amanda, but to our surprise we were able to gather with about 50 local Thrivers and Co-Thrivers (only half of whom are pictured).
It was pretty surreal to witness the power of a meetup. Esentailly we were a group of total strangers who felt bonded instantly due to our shared adversities, a cancer diagnosis. It's so common to feel isoloated and alone, especially when you are younger and on your cancer journey as you don't have others to relate to and it often times feels as if you are the only experiencing what you are.... like you're a total anomaly. Unfortuntaly however, there are so many of us, but fortunately the power of social media has allowed for us to create community and online support. And this meetup allowed for some of us to meet in person, which was so powerful and rewarding. We shared, we laughed , we cried. But most importantly, women were able to meet others in their own communities who could understand and relate to them and lifelong bonds were formed. There's something so healing about having even just that one person who truly gets what you're going through. As much as our loved ones and friends show up for us, there's no way to fully understand what it feels like to have cancer, what it feels like to be on treatment, and what it feels like to live in constant fear of the unknown. This was an experiece I will carry in my heart forever and it has only inspired us to keep on planning more Thriver Meetups for the future.
Nalie and I are currently co-auhoring a book, The Thriver's Guide and we will continue to travel, spread our message of hope and host meetups throughout the book writing process and once the book is released, all sponsored by Thrive Gang! Be on the lookout for a meetup near you. We will be posting to announce some events we have in the works. Hope to meet you soon. In the meantime, keep THRIVING!
Join our GANG and THRIVE! XO