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 adolescents and young adults with cancer and their social support network stay connected throughout treatment and beyond.

If we could give you one easy to remember piece of advice, it is this:




Avoid overthinking the situation and remember it is new and overwhelming for everyone.  Your loved one needs you now more than ever, so don’t let your fear of making a mistake get in the way of showing up. 

Keep reading to learn more about what’s ahead, how to be present, and the resources available to help you every step of the way.

Have specific questions and can’t find the answers you need? Let us know.


Cancer Phases & Support Needs

Each phase of the cancer experience, as well as support needs, will be different. By understanding their unique diagnosis, needs, and desire for support, communicating clearly and practicing good communication skills, and being authentic in how you show up for them, you will improve their quality of life. 

  • 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 that respects their privacy and aligns with their needs is critical to their 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.

The Supporter Roadmap

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.


Preview the digital supporter roadmap below and download your own personal digital copy by clicking the download button. Prefer a hard copy? Request free copies here. For more helpful resources and to chart your unique support path, click here.


The b-there app

Staying connected and receiving consistent and meaningful support is a patient’s lifeline. The b-there App eases the communication and ensures loved ones receive meaningful support consistent with their needs. Click here to download the b-there app on your Android or iOS device and get started today.

Helpful articles and videos

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 Blog, Support Videos, Webinars and Podcasts cover a variety of topics to help you understand the experience from a variety of perspectives. Check out a couple of popular topics below.

  • 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.

  • How can I help?<br>One Survivor's Tips

    How can I help?
    One Survivor's Tips

    Supporting someone with cancer can feel scary and overwhelming. It’s hard to watch them suffer and struggle, and there is a learning curve that comes with finding the balance between your own capacity to support and offering the support that will truly benefit your loved one.

Other Helpful Resources

There are many great resources and organizations out there doing tremendous work advocating and supporting the AYA cancer community. You will find there is no more passionate community of support, but if you are just getting started, they can sometimes be hard to find. check out the links below for a head start.

Helpful Magazines and Books

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 feel less alone in your experience and 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. They also host in-person events, that include 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

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 online community to check out is Cactus Cancer Society, which provides a full spectrum of free, ground-breaking online wellness and support programs for young adults facing cancer, including their annual Gabfest virtual event which happens every December. 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 and WeGotThis for a range of curated items, care packages and registry options. All three 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

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

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