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One Year Later

Written by Tim Sarver

Send it. What a simple, yet motivational name. Once I heard about the Send It Foundation after being diagnosed, I immediately thought it would be a good idea to apply for a trip. Upon receiving notice that I had been accepted for the Backpacking the Sierras trip, I was ecstatic. However, I was nervous and started to overthink the decision. Having never been backpacking before and traveling across the country to spend 4 days with people I’ve never met before, was something certainly out of my comfort zone.

Then I found myself motivated to stop over thinking, SEND IT, and accept the invitation for the trip. I will forever be thankful I made the decision.

Upon arrival at the Send It house I immediately felt accepted, at home, and a part of the group. Little did I know that one of the coolest experiences of my life was just beginning. The hiking and backpacking through the Sierras was absolutely gorgeous. One of the biggest parts for me was that I was out on this trip exactly one year to the date after my diagnosis. I think this made me especially emotional and I got a chance to reflect on my own, and in a way, come to terms with, and be at peace with, what has happened in my life. There’s something about not having any internet access and being in the middle of a beautiful part of the country you’ve never been to before that is calming and peaceful. I truly found peace both mentally and physically while out on this trip.

Being 7 months out from treatment, I didn’t know how to talk about my diagnosis with others (and this is still something I struggle with). This trip gave me the opportunity to be around other young adults with cancer for the first time – the conversations came so naturally and organically. I got to hear stories and see different perspectives on what their lives looked like after cancer. Now I feel like the 8 people I got to spend time with on the trail, as well as the Send It organization, are my cancer family. Everybody is so supportive and non-judgemental because they know and understand to some extent what it’s like and the emotional roller coaster that you experience.

Being a part of the cancer family and having this unique type of support is something that I didn’t know I needed until I got it.

The experience of a cancer diagnosis and treatment looks different for everybody. It can make things difficult as an unplanned life event, but I can say for certain there are most definitely positive things that have come from my diagnosis. I won’t list them all, but getting this opportunity with Send It has been truly life-altering for me.

I now find that I tell myself to send it frequently when it comes to living life to the fullest and going for the extra adventure. As I said, everybody’s cancer experience is different, but so is everybody’s version of sending it, which is what makes it so great.