Survivorship

On Cancer: Bridges Newsletter for Survivors Celebrates Five Years

By Christina Pernambuco-Holsten, MA  |  Monday, July 29, 2013
Pictured: Bridges Newsletter Bridges newsletter for cancer survivors

After completing cancer treatment, many people experience a desire to connect with other survivors. At Memorial Sloan Kettering, one of the ways survivors can do so is through the quarterly newsletter known as Bridges, which began in 2008 as the vision of cancer survivor and volunteer Eileen Gould and celebrates its five-year anniversary this summer.

“It’s been a wonderful five years,” says Ms. Gould, who also serves as the patient editor of Bridges. “When I was first diagnosed, back in the late 1970s, nobody talked about their illness – so when I began volunteering at Memorial in 2008, I knew I wanted to help create a vehicle for doing just that.”

The aim of Bridges is to provide cancer survivors with a forum where they can share their stories and give hope to those who are just beginning treatment. It consists primarily of personal reflections written by patients. But the newsletter also offers essential health information to survivors presented by Memorial Sloan Kettering experts on topics such as coping with fatigue, sexual health, and ways to reduce anxiety – and it includes reviews of books, support services, and other resources that may be of particular interest.

An advisory committee including doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, survivors, and caregivers meets monthly to discuss content and review feedback from readers.

An “Overwhelming Positive” Response

Meghan Newcomer, Coordinator of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Survivorship Initiative, serves as managing editor of the newsletter and describes the response from readers as “overwhelmingly positive.” She estimates that more than 7,000 print copies are distributed quarterly to patients at various locations. In addition, more than 760 readers from around the world receive the newsletter via e-mail. 

Past contributors have included Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Dan Barry and published author Ellen Greenfield, but most contributors possess no formal writing experience. Writing coaches are available through Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Visible Ink program for those patients who find they need help telling their stories. “Judith Kelman, the Founder of Visible Ink, is on our advisory committee and is incredibly supportive of helping novice writers,” adds Ms. Newcomer.

Reflecting upon the impact of Bridges on patients who have contributed, Ms. Newcomer asserts, “The universal response has been gratitude for the opportunity to share their story. Authors regularly comment that they want to help others who are beginning treatment or who have survived and need ongoing support, and Bridges is certainly a great way to do that.”

Ms. Gould too says she is grateful for the experience. “Volunteering with patients is so amazing, especially at Memorial,” she adds. “Memorial goes out of its way, not just in survivorship but in patient support services, which are just so far ahead of any other hospital I’ve ever been. They really make an effort to improve quality of life.”

Sign up to receive Bridges by e-mail or learn more about submitting your story.

Bridges is funded by the LIVESTRONG™ Foundation. 

Comments

I'm glad that this type of news letter was thought of.
I am a 28 going on 29 yrs cancer free I had ALL when I was 2 1/2 yrs old.
With a long list following that, but for years I have been trying to find a way to thank the people who helped me survive and also to let people know that the impossible is possible. Thank you letting me share this

I am a 12-year Ovarian Cancer survivor. There is no possible way to thank everyone who helped me while going through treatment, I just thank God for them every day ! If it had not been for my wonderful husband, Kenny, I would not have had any good days !

I just have to Thank you for Bridges. Here at SHAREing & CAREing we have support groups and our survivors find inspiration and hope thru this publication.

Thank you for BRIDGES. Even though I am cancer free and a 30+ year Hodgkin survivor, BRIDGES never fails to be an inspiration to me.

Bridges is a wonderful way to help cancer survivors keep connected. I was diagnosed in February 2002 with colon cancer. First surgery at MSKCC 4/2/02 then 2nd surgery 8/02 (liver mets) and 2 1/2 years of chemo and I have been cancer free. I thank God every day for restoring my health - with no small assistance from Dr. Douglas Wong, Dr. Yuman Fong and especially Dr. Nancy Kemeny! Family and friends were always there. Thank you to everyone.

My husband had breast cancer and was treated at Sloan Kettering for a period of 12 years. I cannot praise MSKCC enough for the excellent care he received. So caring and compassionate. I shall never forget them.

keep up the good work !!!

Sign me up

Kathy, we will forward your e-mail to Bridges. Thank you for your interest!

Would love to connect with cancer survivors. People sometimes do not know how to communicate with you. I was diagnosed last Oct with ULMS(uterine leiomyosarcoma)- a rare type of uterine cancer. I just want to help bring awareness and change the way people look at cancer. Please sign me up. Thank you for what you are doing to help make a difference.

Jacqueline, thank you for your comment. You may be interested in our Patient-to-Patient Support Program. You can see information about it at:

http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/counseling-support/patient-patient-support

Jacqueline, we have also added your name to the newsletter distribution list. Thank you for your interest in Bridges! You can read previous issues here: http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/survivorship/newsletter-survivors.

I am a 10-year Pancreatic Cancer survivor. There is no possible way to thank Dr. M. Brennan Dr O'Reilly and everyone who helped me while going through treatment, I just thank God for them every day!

I would like to hear aabot and coneect with renal metastatic/carcinoma survivors

Thank you for your comment, Pushpa. We've passed your comment along to our survivorship team. If you'd like more info about our survivorship programs, you can go here: http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/survivorship.

Pushpa, you may also be able to participate in our Patient-to-Patient Volunteer program. Some patients do participate over the phone, if you are not in the area. http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/counseling-support/patient-patient-support

Add a Comment

Your e-mail address is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

More information about formatting options