Cancer doesn’t just come to call on the patient; it is a disease that pulls friends and family into its evil lair as well. And just as survivors must learn the meaning of “new normal,” so it is with their co-survivors.

A little recognized term, a co-survivor is anyone who has cared in some manner for the person with cancer. Whether biological family, extended family, or friend, their world has been shocked. Guilt, helplessness, stress and grief burrow into their minds  too, just in different ways than those of the patients.

It makes perfect sense, then, that the Women Survivors Alliance should be sensitive to co-survivors’ needs in much the same we we reach out to survivors. And as is always the case with us, we we don’t just talk the talk, we walk it too! When lovely Nancy Hauskins came into our lives, we never dreamt we would have the honor of welcoming her to her to our WSA family.

Her words are humbling:

Karen and Judy are my Pied Pipers. With their infectious smiles and quirky humor, I was immediately drawn to follow them. I am a co-survivor of cancer. A caregiver. Over a span of just 18 months cancer took my rock, my father, and then came back for my beautiful mother. Two months later my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is a survivor.

I don’t know why cancer is so cruel, but I do know there can be tremendous power in fighting back against it. THAT is why I am here.

Before joining the Women Survivors Alliance I spent more than 5 years in communications and marketing with the American Cancer Society and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. Thanks to the tremendous work they do, we have a rapidly growing population of survivors to tend to. I am also a former television news anchor, reporter, proud mom, a dog lover, and total klutz (kind of like a bird flying into a window).

If you have a story, I want to hear it! If you give me permission, I may share it with others. Your voice is stronger than any news release I can write – so Tweet about us, put your convention pics on Facebook and help me share your journey with fellow survivors and co-survivors. There truly are healing powers in knowing you are not alone.