Thursday, June 30, 2016

Fort Worth Patient Advocate: A Place for Young Adults

Photo by HKS, Inc./Daryl Shields
 A cancer diagnosis is always devastating, but in the adolescent and young adult (AYA) population, a cancer diagnosis has different challenges. They are still in school, getting married, starting families, or beginning their careers. These are issues that are not always addressed and comprehensive care is not always an option. Most oncology units consist of either pediatric patients under the age of 15 or adult patients over the age of 40, leaving AYA patients in the minority at treatment facilities.

The Fort Worth Adolescent and Young Adult Coalition (FWAYAOC) addresses these issues and provides the tools, support, and resources that these patients need. This is a nonprofit organization comprised of survivors, health professionals, educators, and members of the community. Together, the coalition works towards giving these patients the highest standard of care and meets them wherever they are in their journey.

The FWAYAOC opened a new AYA inpatient unit and infusion center in May to provide an age-relevant treatment facility for local young adults, ages 18 to 29, diagnosed with cancer.  Located at Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center in Fort Worth, is the first community-supported AYA inpatient unit in the country.  

Justin Ozuna, the Director of Communications and Community Engagement of the FWAYAOC, is a fellow AYA survivor and is passionate about their mission.  When asked about this new unit, Justin said, "Our new AYA inpatient oncology unit enables us to expand the specialized care and age-relevant support that young adults diagnosed with cancer in our community need. Through the generous support of individuals, partners and organizations like the LLS, we have a greater opportunity to impact more lives and provide more hope to future generations."

We are so excited to support this organization and together be able to help this population better than we’ve ever been able to before.  I spend two days a week at this facility and am already enjoying the opportunity to work with these patients and share with them the resources LLS has to offer.  



The North Texas Blood Cancer Conference will have a special break out session dedicated to the AYA population.  Registration is now open so reserve your spot to this event on September 10th.


Kelsey Thompson is the Fort Worth Patient Advocate for the North Texas Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  She meets with patients and their families at Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center on Mondays and patients at The Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  Kelsey understands the patient experience as a blood and marrow transplant registered nurse. 

Contact Kelsey:

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