TAMPA, Fla. – Being a young adult with cancer is unique, which is why Moffitt Cancer Center is dedicating April 4-9 to recognizing Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Awareness Week.
Approximately 70,000 AYA patients are diagnosed with cancer each year. Moffitt’s AYA Program addresses the unique concerns and emotional needs of young adults with cancer and provides special medical and psychosocial care.
At the age of 24, Rachell Moodie was beginning a new chapter of her life. She was a newlywed looking forward to beginning a family when she discovered a lump on her breast. Doctors diagnosed her with triple negative breast cancer and recommended she start chemotherapy immediately.
Moodie was devastated and began asking questions about fertility preservation. She decided to delay chemotherapy so her eggs could be harvested and embryos could be frozen and stored. Five years later, she became pregnant thanks to in vitro fertilization and gave birth to daughter Madelyn in October 2014.
Doctors told Moodie her chances of getting pregnant naturally were slim to none due to chemotherapy. Despite tests showing that her ovaries are in menopause, she beat the odds and is pregnant with another baby girl due in June.
Here is a calendar of events taking place during AYA Cancer Awareness Week:
Monday, April 4
Fertility 101: Fertility Education nurses will be in the Moffitt cafeteria lobby to answer patient and provider questions about fertility before and after cancer treatment.
11 a.m. – 1p.m., Moffitt Cafeteria Lobby
Tuesday, April 5
Art Up: Patients can paint, color, learn origami, and more with Moffitt’s artists in residence.
10 a.m. – noon, Inpatient Rounding
AYA Lounge Night: Lounge Night is an opportunity for young adult patients and their families and friends to spend time together eating pizza, watching movies, playing games and socializing with other young adult patients.
5-7 p.m., Moffitt AYA Lounge
Wednesday, April 6
Meet Up: “Meet Up” is a support group for young adult patients, where they can interact with each other and discuss issues that young cancer patients may face.
1 p.m., Moffitt AYA Lounge
Connect Up: “Connect Up” is a support group for friends and family members of young adult patients. It gives them a chance to discuss the challenges of being a caregiver to a young adult with cancer.
1 p.m., Moffitt’s 5th Floor Day Room
Thursday, April 7
Texas Roadhouse Fundraiser: Help support Moffitt’s AYA Program by eating dinner at the Texas Roadhouse in Wesley Chapel on April 7. Ten percent of your bill will be donated to the Moffitt AYA program with voucher.
4- 10 p.m., Texas Roadhouse, 26409 Silver Maple Parkway, Wesley Chapel
Friday, April 8
Get to know the AYA Program: AYA team members will be in the Gold Valet lobby throughout the day to answer program questions, showcase opportunities on how to get involved with the program and give tours of the Swim Across America AYA Lounge.
Saturday, April 9
AYA Wellness Fair: Enjoy free lunch, connect with wellness vendors and hear AYA patient guest speakers share their journey with cancer at this public wellness fair.
11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Moffitt’s Stabile Research Building
AYA patient advocate Rachell Moodie will be available for media interviews to share her story with the community. For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Lisa.Chillura@Moffitt.org.
About Moffitt Cancer Center
Moffitt is dedicated to one lifesaving mission: to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. One of the three largest cancer centers in the United States based on patient volume, the Tampa-based facility is one of only 45 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s excellence in research, its contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt is the top-ranked cancer hospital in Florida and has been listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of the “Best Hospitals” for cancer care since 1999. Moffitt devotes more than 2 million square feet to research and patient care. With more than 5,000 team members, Moffitt has an economic impact in the state of $1.9 billion. For more information, call 1-888-MOFFITT (1-888-663-3488), visit MOFFITT.org, and follow the Moffitt momentum on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.