Sanford Health’s “Engage Retreat” aims to support young people impacted by cancer

It's not too late to register for the free virtual event

FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) — Sanford Health’s First Annual Engage Retreat taking place next week aims to offer support, hope and education to a specific group of people impacted by cancer.

Battling cancer isn’t easy for anyone, but adolescents and young adults are faced with a unique set of challenges.

“They’re going through a lot just developmentally, and it’s a big time frame in their life, so to add cancer to it certainly complicates things,” said Sanford Health social worker Chelsey Strand.

Strand and Sanford Health’s Dr. Melanie Chihak say a cancer diagnosis for patients ages 18 to 35 means they often have to put their lives on hold while those around them go on to college, enter the workforce or start a family.

“They’re also unique in that their fertility is often at the top of their mind. Financial stresses as they transition from being with their parents to being independent can be really difficult,” Chihak added.

They’re also sometimes overlooked in the medical field.

“They’re often not included in research studies and don’t always have the treatment protocols really aimed at what their needs are,” Chihak explained.

Sanford’s Engage Retreat aims to fill that gap for this age group sometimes referred to as the “in-betweeners”.

Cancer survivors, those currently in treatment and their caregivers can come together virtually on the evening of Thursday, March 11th from 3 to 7 o’clock.

“We’re going to have a variety of topics from financial, relationships, sexual health, body image and chronic pain all from experts within and outside the cancer center,” said Strand.

“Sexual topics are often topics we don’t talk about enough during cancer treatment. We’re going to have a talk on integrative medicine, some art therapy,” added Chihak.

The free event goes beyond the physical care Sanford Health is known for providing and delves into the emotional and mental care that’s just as important. 

The first 100 attendees to register will receive a special giveaway.

Find the link to register by clicking here.

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