Andy Miller, MHSE, CHES, Vice President of Mission for LIVESTRONG, delivered the advocacy keynote address at our second annual AONN Navigation and Survivorship Con ference in September. Miller oversees LIVESTRONG’s strategic direction and daily operations of its programmatic activities, including grants and partnerships, direct services for those affected by cancer, and implementation of the foundation’s cancer policy platform.
In his address, Miller discussed how the organization’s mission is to “inspire and empower people affected by cancer.” One of the key priorities of this LIVESTRONG mission is to assist cancer patients in navigating survivorship. For the foundation, this means providing free, confidential, one-on-one support to anyone affected by cancer, be it the person who is diagnosed, patients’ loved ones, or patient caregivers. Since 2004, LIVESTRONG has been providing navigation services that focus on emotional support; fertility risks and preservation options; insurance, employment, and financial concerns; and treatment concerns. In 2009, the foundation opened the LIVESTRONG Cancer Navigation Center in Austin, Texas, where they continue to help people with any cancer type and at any stage of treatment. In fact, in 2010, the LIVESTRONG organization assisted over 11,000 individuals, provided more than 38,000 services, and saved individuals more than $3 million by negotiating discounts and providing funds.
In his closing remarks, Miller stated, “LIVESTRONG is an organization that is not about cancer. It’s about people. It’s about people affected by cancer.” In much the same way, AONN is not about cancer, but rather about people affected by cancer as we strive to achieve our vision to “increase the role of and access to oncology nurse and patient navigators, so that all cancer patients may benefit from their guidance, insight, and personal advocacy.”
Our very own editor-in-chief, Lillie Shockney, delivered the survivorship keynote address. Shockney is a registered nurse with a BS in healthcare administration from Saint Joseph’s College and a master’s degree in Administrative Science from the Johns Hopkins University. She is a founder of AONN and a published author of 13 books and over 200 articles on the subject of breast cancer.
In her address, Shockney led conference attendees on a journey through some of her personal experiences with breast cancer. The audience was held captivated by many heartwarming and often entertaining stories of breast cancer survivors Shockney has encountered throughout her life. Audience members also listened closely as Shockney talked about her own breast cancer diagnosis at the age of 38 and her subsequent mastectomies. Not only did Shockney discuss the impact of cancer on her body physically, but she also shared some of the emotional hurdles she cleared as a cancer patient and survivor. Included in her story were those individuals who positively influenced her treatment journey.
Today, Shockney considers it a privilege to spend her time taking care of women who are facing a breast cancer diagnosis. As a result, she has been working diligently the past 3 years on developing a survivorship program in which navigators assist in meeting the emotional and physical needs of cancer survivors. For instance, while a patient’s treatment summary is valuable, Shockney says, it is just as important to discuss a patient’s care plan, including the physical symptoms and psychosocial issues she may encounter along her journey. Supplying steadfast support to patients throughout treatment is another crucial component of a survivorship program. And, when the treatments are complete, Shockney believes it is the responsibility of navigators to help survivors reengage in their lives both emotionally and physically