Connection and Support are Vital

Hearing the words “I have cancer” from a loved one can be scary and overwhelming. Unanswered questions may include: What’s ahead? What do I do? What do I say? How do I act? How can I help? Am I capable of being by their side through thick and thin?

The b-there program provides the tools and resources that improve empathy and understanding, strengthen communication, and help patients and their social support network stay connected throughout treatment and beyond.


Avoid overthinking the situation and remember it is new and overwhelming for everyone. By understanding their unique diagnosis, needs, and desire for support, practicing good communication skills, and being authentic in how you show up for them, you will improve their quality of life. 

The Different Phases of the Cancer Experience and The Support Needed

  • Diagnosis


    The first few weeks are overwhelming and chaotic as everyone adjusts to the news. Needs for support may be difficult to verbalize, but establishing a support network early is critical to quality of life and health outcomes.
  • Treatment


    Life settles into a new routine, but daily upsets continue. Physical, mental and emotional changes emerge as they cope with treatment and life upended. Normalcy, presence, and support from peers provides the needed escape and gives patients the strength to get through.
  • Beyond Treatment

    Beyond Treatment

    Returning to life outside the hospital is an adjustment as physical and mental health effects persist during recovery. With uncertainties about health, finances, relationships and what's next, supportive and understanding friends are vital to a successful transition.

Charting your unique path to connection and support

For a step-by-step guide on how to navigate this difficult time, click the link below. The Supporter Roadmap is a resource designed for anyone struggling with what is next and how they can stay connected and provide meaningful support after a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer.

  • What's Next for my Friend w/ Cancer?

    What's Next for my Friend w/ Cancer?

    Most young adults never expect to hear the words “I have cancer” and feel totally unprepared when they do. Finding out a friend has cancer can be scary and overwhelming. Click the link below to learn what's ahead and support with courage and compassion. Your friend is counting on it.

  • What do I Do?<br>What do I Say?

    What do I Do?
    What do I Say?

    If you are a young adult, your friend's diagnosis may be the first time you know someone your age with cancer. You may be struggling with what to say or do, and how to support. We're here to help you find the answers so you can be the supportive friend they need during this challenging time.

  • The b-there App -<br> Connect & Support

    The b-there App -
    Connect & Support

    How are you? What do you need? Do you want visitors? When can I come by? These questions often go unanswered if we are afraid to ask for or offer support. The b-there App eases the communication and ensures patients receive meaningful support consistent with their needs.

Other Helpful Resources, Videos and Organizations

Support Videos, Webinars and Podcast Playlists

The first time an adolescent or young adult (AYA) hears the news that their friend or loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, they may be at a loss for what this means, and more importantly, how they can be supportive during this difficult time.

Our Support Videos, Webinars and Podcasts cover a variety of topics to help you understand the experience from a variety of perspectives. Get access to all our playlists by clicking the link below.

Support Videos, Webinars and Podcast Playlists

To the Kind-Hearted Supporter

If you are supporting your friend or family member who has been diagnosed with cancer or another chronic illness, you know that role comes with many challenges. It’s hard to watch the ones we love suffer and struggle. There is a learning curve that comes with figuring out how to balance your time and energy and knowing how to give in a way that will truly benefit your loved one.

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To the Kind-Hearted Supporter

Helpful Magazines and Books

Every experience is different, but there are definitely themes to the young adult cancer experience. Personal stories from cancer survivors and their communities of support can help you understand the challenges, what is needed, and what positively or negatively impacted their quality of life. Information is power and can help you be a better supporter for your friend. Elephants and Tea Magazine has an amazing quarterly print magazine and weekly online stories from the AYA cancer community. Also, if you want to attend one of Elephants and Tea’s in-person events, they are inviting writers, readers, and the AYA cancer community to connect, interact, and celebrate each other!

Looking for helpful tips and tactics for offering support in a variety of life-changing situations (not just cancer)? A great option is There Is No Good Card for This: What to Say and Do When Life Is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love.

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Helpful Magazines and Books

AYA Cancer Community Organizations

We compiled a list of helpful resources and organizations specific to the AYA cancer community. Click the link below to learn about organizations that are specifically focused on the unique needs and experiences of the AYA population!

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AYA Cancer Community Organizations

Staying Connected With Friends Near and Far

Friendships are one of the most important aspects of our lives and staying connected when isolated is essential for our mental health. Whether you have a friend that is stuck in the hospital or a long-distance BFF, remember there are tons of ways to b-present and stay connected to friends from afar. A great program loaded with fun and engaging young adult cancer hangout options is Cactus Cancer Society. For additional online options to connect, checkout the link below.

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Staying Connected With Friends Near and Far

Gift Ideas for Loved Ones with Cancer

Want to buy a gift for your loved one with cancer but aren’t sure what to get? Check out Carebetter and Love Her Hug Her for a range of curated items and care packages. Both organizations were founded by cancer survivors who understand the challenges of the cancer experience and the items that brought them comfort. Em&Friends has a great selection of empathy cards, journals, and other fun stationery gifts. Founded by a cancer survivor with an artistic flair and a great sense of humor, you are guaranteed to find something that conveys just the right sentiment when you struggle to find the words.

Gift Ideas for Loved Ones with Cancer