Happy 2 Years Lacuna Loft!

Lacuna Loft

Wow!  I can’t believe that 2 years have gone by!  So much has changed since we launched Lacuna Loft on March 3, 2014 and since our birthday one year ago.

Lacuna Loft is hitting its stride and settling into its life as a dynamic nonprofit.  I am so proud of what Lacuna Loft has grown into.  I am so excited by the programs that we have going and the programs that are arriving soon.  It has been 2 years and 6 months since I left my life as an aerospace engineer to dream and scheme on how I could help make my own life better as well as the lives of others going through serious illness.  What an incredible ride it has been so far.

Given how far we have come and how far we are going, the Lacuna Loft team would like to request that you fill out our super easy-peasy survey below.  It will provide us with information and feedback on how better to serve you; about what you’re interested in and what you could do without.  Feel free to fill in as much or as few details in that last question as you’d like.

Lacuna Loft is here for you and we are #StrongerTogether.

P.S.  Happy 1 Year Lacuna Loft! & Launch Day!

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Research Study For Canadian Cancer Survivors

Canadian cancer survivors

Are you a Canadian cancer survivor? A team at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia is researching ‘return to work’ in cancer survivors in Canada.  Taking part in research is a valuable use of time…it helps further our understanding of how cancer affects lives and how we can all work together to make improvements.

If you meet the criteria listed below and are interested in taking part in the return to work study, contact Emily Drake at 902.292.3859 or at emily.drake@dal.ca for more information.

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A Young Adult Cancer & Chronic Illness Writing Group!

writing group

Lacuna Loft is incredibly excited to introduce you to a new program that is starting here in mid-March called Unspoken Ink! Unspoken Ink is a creative writing group, designed to help address issues that transport us from initial diagnosis into the new normal and survivorship. The group will consist of 8-10 people, and will meet over 10 weeks for 2 hours each week over google hangout video chat.

If you’re interested in joining us, read more below and fill out the form!  Our Spring Session is forming now!

For the Spring Session of Unspoken Ink, we will be forming a group of 8-10 survivors. Caregiver groups will start slightly later in the year. If you are not able to attend the Spring Session for any reason (you’re a caregiver, the group was full already, the time didn’t work for your availability, etc.) please fill out the form anyway and we’ll put you on the list for future writing groups!


Welcome to the Unspoken Ink writing group! Jen and Mallory are so excited that you are considering joining us!

This group is designed to take you on a journey through your cancer or chronic illness diagnosis and into your survivorship with a small group of your young adult cancer/illness survivor peers. Each 10-week program consists of a weekly writing session attended via google video hangout. We will get to know one another in an intimate, 8-10 person setting and address issues that transport us from initial diagnosis into the new normal and survivorship.

The Unspoken Ink writing group uses a creative writing method (Amherst Writing and Artists (AWA) Method) wherein the facilitator provides a writing prompt and you can use that prompt in any way you’d like to create a story over a set amount of time. Once we’ve finished our writing (yes, the facilitator writes too!), everyone is given the opportunity to read their writing out loud. Hearing your own story and hearing someone else’s teaches us all so much about our experiences and our stories. Once the piece is read, we reflect on the writing – what did we like, what stood out, what do we remember. Everything is considered fiction so we do not respond to the writer as a support group may, but keep the focus on the writing.

Sometimes the prompts are about cancer/illness, sometimes indirectly related to cancer/illness, and sometimes not about cancer/illness at all. Above all, the writing program emphasizes that we are more than a diagnosis.

Our Spring writing group is forming soon!

Some logistics:
– The writing group meets for 2 hours each week, for a period of 10 weeks. A commitment to attend each week is important to group continuity and in creating a safe space. Please be on time. The group will begin in mid-March with a TBD meeting time.
– Each participant will receive a name@LacunaLoft-writinggroup.org email address to use when attending each writing group session. At this email address, you will receive a weekly invitation to a google video hangout where the writing group session will take place. These email addresses will help preserve individual privacy if desired and will make meeting as a group via video hangout easier.
– Following each weekly session, you may decide to submit your writing to Mallory (mallory@lacunaloft.org) for publication on LacunaLoft.org in their Young Adult Voices program section. This is not mandatory!

Our Founder Interviewed By Cure Magazine!

cure magazine

Our founder, Mallory, was recently interviewed by Cure Magazine for an article on young adult cancer.  In the article, the on-going discussion of whether cancer is becoming trendy is examined.

Now we open up the question to you all!  What do you think of these movies and shows on the Hollywood scene that depict young adult cancer?  I have to admit that I am a believer in the show, Chasing Life.  I have issues with a lot of the rest though I’m open to new ways of looking at the world!  What do you think?  Yay?  Nay?

You can read the entire Cure Magazine article here!

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Welcome to California, Lacuna Loft!

Lacuna Loft has arrived in California!  When I worked with our fabulous group of lawyers to incorporate and file for our tax exempt, non profit status, the state of California was chosen as the future home of Lacuna Loft.  It was decided in December that my husband’s company would pick San Francisco as its future home so Lacuna Loft (and myself) needed to follow suit.  It has taken months of preparation, and many many hours of packing my home, but Lacuna Loft is finally in its new state.

Lacuna Loft should have an office and a brand new address in the next few weeks.   I’ll update you with specifics as they unfold.  Otherwise, the weather here is great, the housing market is stressful, and my pups are loving all of the walks because we have no backyard.  🙂

As things settle down in the next few weeks we’ll go back to having 5 posts a week, Monday thru Friday.  Thank you for your consideration as our posting schedule changed just a little over the last month.  As always, if you’re interested in writing about your young adult cancer-ness, email info@lacunaloft.com and I’ll send you more information!

Around Lacuna Loft – Summer 2015

As I usually tell you (last summer, last fall, winter, and earlier this spring), Lacuna Loft is a busy place.  We are now an official, 501(c)3 registered, not for profit organization.  We’ve started a book club, made some great food and smoothies, crafted up a storm, been busy in the young adult cancer community, and more.  On top of all of that, the office is busy and making final arrangements for our move to Northern California.  Once everything is done and moved we’ll talk more about it.  In the mean time, our 5 day per week posting schedule may be slightly compromised for the next few weeks as everything is physically and emotionally shipped across the country.

I hope your summers are going by wonderfully!  If you need or want anything from Lacuna Loft, shoot us an email at info(at)lacunaloft(dot)com!

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The Current Face Of Advocacy

young adult cancer advocacy

The world around us is changing.  Smart phones make instant communication a reality and a necessity.  Learning to be a better advocate in the midst of all of this constant noise can be a challenge.  Organizations around the world, supporting different causes are up to this task and are slowly coming up with more and more creative ways to cut through the crap and help affect real change.  Young adult cancer advocacy requires this same initiative and drive.

I wrote about this and more on the Scar Stories blog.

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You can read the full article here!

Have any thoughts about young adult cancer advocacy that you’d like to share?

Behind the Scenes: Lacuna Loft’s First Days

Here at Lacuna Loft, we are all about the behind the scenes, nitty-gritty of running an organization. When I started Lacuna Loft, I relied on some very communicative and helpful small business owners to help guide me…along with a load of library books!  In the Behind the Scenes series we’ll talk about the various stages of the development of Lacuna Loft and some of the lessons we’ve learned along the way. You’ll hear often from me, the Founder and CEO of Lacuna Loft, as well as from our Design Guru, board members, contributors, and more!

Today we’ll discuss the very beginnings of Lacuna Loft and how we chose our business structure of a not for profit corporation.

If you’ve missed other posts in our Behind the Scenes series, check out a day in the life of Lacuna Loft’s founder!

Lacuna Loft grew directly from a lack of resources that I experienced during my time spent caregiving, during my own cancer treatments, and into my survivorship.  I was a super busy graduate student, marathon runner, and doggie mama.  I loved salsa dancing and found every excuse possible to stay up late having fun.  Then caregiving hit, followed closely by my cancer diagnosis.  When I took a summer off of school to finish treatments I had no idea how to take care of myself emotionally.  I didn’t know what exercise meant.  I didn’t know how to keep myself entertained if running 5 miles, working in the lab, or staying up late weren’t on the table of options.  What followed were a few very difficult months of self discovery.

Two summers later I left graduate school and needed to face a new reality.  I started dreaming and scheming about how to fill my time and slowly, Lacuna Loft was born.  I wanted Lacuna Loft to be a place where one could come, take a break, a hiatus, a pause, and hang out.  Where one could learn how to self care and how to advocate for health and well being.  Where I could help others face their new reality with cancer with guidance, creativity, and a shoulder to lean on.  I also wanted a working environment where I could treat myself with compassion and love everyday.

My husband helped me choose a name, get a website up and running, and draft a set of branding images and logos.  We spent hours tweaking colors and website layouts.  I spent even more time talking with everyone I could about my dream.  I talked with young adult cancer survivors and caregivers, people at an expo in Champaign, IL, people in hospitals and cancer resource centers.  If I could find someone to listen to my “pitch” and offer feedback of any sort, I took the opportunity.

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While building Lacuna Loft, I started with a drive and mission to build a blog and a community.  Money, though definitely necessary for living in today’s society, was not a top priority.  Lacuna Loft was thus started with the goal of being a self sustainable and free blog, selling care kits for patients, survivors, and caregivers.  Marketing, however, is not my area of expertise.  Over the course of several months, I discovered that the people who would be buying the care kits were often not the ones actually going through treatments and therefore didn’t recognize the importance of each item in the care kits.  While the kits received wonderful reviews from survivors with whom I spoke (and who purchased the kits), it became clear to me that the care kits required careful marketing, and that marketing care kits was not my life’s passion.  I wanted to write with Lacuna Loft while building a brand and advocating for young adult cancer survivors and caregivers.  The magazine needed to be my top focus.

While looking into other business structures (we had been set up as a sole proprietor thus far), I continued talking with hospital presidents, social workers, marketing departments, resource centers, nurses, and anyone else I could talk into taking a meeting with me.  Over and over again our collaborations were made more cumbersome because they were not for profits and we were set up as a for-profit.  I hit the same road block when approaching nursing organizations and other young adult cancer organizations to join their resources web pages.  If everyone we wanted to work with were nonprofit organizations, a not for profit we would become!

While having a meeting in Chicago with the founder of True North Treks, he suggested that I talk with the Bluhm Legal Clinic out of Northwestern University.  Their Entrepreneurship Law Center takes a handful of clients each semester and helps them with their legal needs for free if you’re seeking to become a nonprofit, and at a reduced rate for for-profit entities.  Lacuna Loft applied and was accepted!  We incorporated as a not for profit corporation in the State of California and applied for (and received) our tax exempt 501(c)3 status.  We formed a board, approved by-laws and everything else required by the State of California, and the rest is history!

It has never been important to me how Lacuna Loft is structured.  As long as Lacuna Loft is allowed to work with other key players in the healthcare and young adult cancer arena and as long as we are able to reach young adults facing cancer as survivors or caregivers, I’m a happy Founder and CEO.

Let us know if there is something in particular that you’d like shown as part of our Behind the Scenes series!

Our Founder On The Stupid Cancer Show!

the stupid cancer show

Did you know that there is an awesome radio show just for young adult cancer survivors and caregivers?  It’s a weekly radio show/podcast/dose of awesomeness put on by Stupid Cancer called the Stupid Cancer Show.

I had a great time talking with Matthew Zachary, Founder and CEO of Stupid Cancer, last week.  He is a dynamic personality who immediately makes you feel at ease and excited to be present.  I met him at the Critical Mass conference last year and then again at CancerCon a few months ago.  We talked about my past as a Rocket Scientist, going from being a caregiver to being a cancer survivor, Matthew’s current series in the US News & World Report, fertility and emotional support, and so much more.  Connecting with other young adult cancer survivors is a powerful thing…whether you’re in person, online, or on a radio show.

More about the show in general…

“Produced by Stupid Cancer, the Stupid Cancer Radio Show is a multi-award-winning talk radio podcast that has given voice to the young adult cancer movement and elevated the cause into the global spotlight.”

You can hear the whole episode here or here!  The entire episode (and the whole series of episodes) is super informative and entertaining.

Our Founder As A Featured mAss Kicker!

young adult cancer survivor

As the Founder of Lacuna Loft, I love talking and collaborating with other organizations.  Recently, I did an interview with Eric Galvez, Founder and Executive Director of mASS Kickers.  In the interview I talked about my personal cancer journey, some of my hobbies and past times, and all about the path that Lacuna Loft has taken.  As a young adult cancer survivor, sharing my story has been one of the ways that I help advocate for age-appropriate resources for other young adult survivors and caregivers.

Here’s an excerpt…

mASS Kicker excerpt

Read the whole article here!