I write this, freshly returned from my first-ever ASCO conference. ASCO is the American Society for Clinical Oncology and I was there to greet patient advocates, pharmaceutical companies, and oncology workers as a representative of Cactus Cancer Society. It was overwhelming, to be frank: there were so many exhibitors and the conference space with massive (I don’t think I ever found one side wall!) But it was so wonderful to connect with other patient advocacy groups and tell people about the incredible community here.
Speaking of community, I met my other three coworkers and one board member for the very first time! It is so funny you have known and worked with this crew for a year or more and that I’ve just finally given them a hug in 3-D. I know that you know the online community is remarkable. Meeting folks in person that I already knew well from our programs and other forms of online connection felt like no time at all had passed.
On to some plans for your weekend!
Eat: I had some really tasty food on my roadtrip there and back, but hands-down, my favorite was an Ethiopian restaurant in Cleveland. I loved the way the lentils were prepared, especially since lentils are something I’m already quite familiar with as a vegetarian. I encourage you to see if there is any Ethiopian restaurant near you, or take a look at replicating a dish at home. It will be well worth it!
See: I know that many of us on the East Coast and Midwest are currently impacted by the Canadian wildfires. While I was not impacted too much in Chicago, or on my drive back, the photos of New York City and my own town were startling to say the least. My heart breaks for all of those who are impacted by the air quality and by the fires themselves. I hope that if you are impacted, you are staying indoors and safe. My recommendation is to watch a nature documentary, of which there are so many to choose: Planet Earth, Our Planet, March of the Penguins, and America’s National Parks. While they are entertaining and informative, it reminds us of the need to care for our planet as best we can. We only have one.
Do: Getting something in the mail (when it is not a bill or a medical statement) is one of my favorite things in the world. I recently posted on my Instagram asking if folks would like to be penpals and I was amazed by the response! What I love about mail is that it doesn’t have to be anything super fancy. To start, I grabbed some postcards from a stop on my ASCO return trip (Cuyahoga Valley National Park!) Writing letters is one of the least expensive hobbies you can have with the widest-reaching impact. Looking for a penpal? See if anyone in your circle wants to exchange small things, like postcards, or large things, like the coconut my friend once mailed me. (True story!)
Have an East African-inspired, earthy, snailmail-worthy weekend.