The Cancer Survivor’s Guide

This resource guide was created for newly diagnosed adolescent and young adult cancer survivors and includes information about the cancer experience from the perspective of a fellow young adult survivor. Through qualitative research and in-depth interviews, seven other survivors’ voices and perspectives helped bring this project to life. This resource guide covers ways to navigate life with a new cancer diagnosis, offers resources, and provides a candid look at what life is like for survivors. With information on camps, hospital programming, and more, this guide can assist with the transition to the ‘new normal’ which happens after being diagnosed.

Brendi Bluitt, a 23-year-old cancer survivor, created this guide for her Master’s capstone project from UNC Charlotte. The Isabella Santos Foundation was proud to be Brendi’s research project sponsor.

View and download The Cancer Survivor’s Guide

“Remember, cancer is only part of your story, it does not define you or your future.” -Brendi Bluitt

Brendi’s Story

Brendi, 2021

Hi, I’m Brendi!  Thank you for downloading this resource guide.  I put this guide together because it is something that I wish I had when I was first diagnosed.  Here is my story:

In September 2011, after months of pain and a few doctor’s appointments, I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a blood cancer.  I had an amazing team of doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, and more that helped care for me and since January 2014 I have been cancer-free.

After graduating high school in 2015, I began pursuing higher education at Campbell University (Go Camels!) where I obtained my degrees in Health Communication and Public Relations.  It was here that I discovered my passion for finding ways to connect with people through shared experiences and qualitative research.  In August 2019, I began my degree at UNC Charlotte for a Master’s in Communication Studies and graduated in May 2021.  During the summer of 2020, I had the opportunity to intern with the Isabella Santos Foundation (ISF) as a Lead Intern and had such a blast!  The work that ISF is doing for the pediatric cancer community is so meaningful and I’m thankful to have been a small part of their work.

Sharing stories of cancer survivors is so important to me and why I wanted to create this project.  In the future, I would love to work in elected office and advocate for funding and research for pediatric cancer and other health issues that impact children. Remember, cancer is only part of your story, it does not define you or your future.