What drew me to GVCC?

~Rachelle Rolf

Gryt Health puts on GVCC every year, and their organization is primarily staffed with employees who have some sort of connection to cancer themselves – whether it be that they are cancer survivors themselves or they know someone who walked through the journey. They have a personal connection, so they’re intentional about providing speakers and sessions that they know will be beneficial to those that attend. I also love that they offer sessions for professionals – to help them to understand what it’s like to be on the receiving end of their care.

How did I hear about GVCC?

One of my friends that works for Gryt Health told me about the conference, and I immediately signed up. I was so excited to be able to hear the Keynote Speaker, Chris Draft, as I knew that his wife had lung cancer at a young age, similar to me. I don’t know a lot of other AYA Lung Cancer fighters, so it was nice to feel connected to others that understood the journey. There is power in hearing someone else’s story, how they turned their heartbreak into helping others on their journey, and being an advocate for early screening. 

Favorite sessions last year

Psst, You’re An Advocate, Too! – This session really helped me to realize that being an advocate doesn’t have to be me going to Washington to fight for a new legislature to pass. I have the ability to be an advocate by being open to sharing my story. I originally thought that to be successful at advocating, it meant that I had to constantly be sharing statistics and information about cancer. I found that I can be an advocate in many different ways. I can share my journey on social or with family and friends. I can share with my doctors the symptoms that I had in hopes that it will help them be a little more aggressive with scans with future patients with similar symptoms. I can also hang my white ribbon up on my balcony where I live and talk to those that ask me what it means. I appreciated this, as it took the burden of feeling like I needed to be doing my part away, as I realized I was already doing things to help advocate.

Sessions are Recorded

This Shyt Lasts Forever, Dealing With Long Term Side Effects – Rehab – I remember watching this session live, and it was beneficial, but one of the things that I love about this conference is that they keep the recordings for the conference up on the conference site for a year, and they remain available on YouTube that time period. 

I have been having some more pain in the area where I received my radiation treatments, and my current doctor is recommending that I go get physical therapy. I was a little hesitant at first because PT means more appointments, but I remembered that we had a session about rehab after cancer treatments during GVCC last year, so I was actually able to go back and watch the session again. It helped remind me of the benefits I could get from getting physical therapy. 

Some conferences you have to attend live, and if you don’t, you’ve missed the session. One of my favorite things about GVCC is that this conference will always be virtual, and the sessions will always be recorded. I appreciate that I am able to go back and watch a session at a later time. Especially if I missed something that someone said, and I want to go back and make sure I write down what they said. 

I also really appreciate that there is no cost to this conference! It truly is available to anyone who wants to attend! If I was sick, I could still attend and watch from my computer. 

Creative Outlet

Rachelle thoroughly enjoyed creating this piece through a guided activity at GVCC21.

I also loved how this conference sees the value in utilizing a creative outlet during stressful times. I had been wanting to spend a little more time painting and getting back into my creative side, but I wasn’t really sure how or where to even begin. During the conference, they held a watercolor painting session, and I LOVED it! They walked step by step through the process of creating a painting, and it was so refreshing being able to do something like that again. It helped me to begin seeking out other opportunities for me to be creative, and I am so thankful to GVCC for that experience. 

Going forward, I will always block out the dates ahead of time on my calendar so I can make sure that I attend this conference each year. I am looking forward to what they have planned for 2022! I am looking forward to seeing you all there – virtually, of course!

You can register for #GVCC22 here! It is November 2nd through 5th!

If you like, please share in the comments below what your favorite past sessions have been OR what you hope to see at GVCC22!

Rachelle lives in Omaha, NE, and enjoys kayaking, traveling, and being outside in nature. Her cancer journey began as an infant when she was diagnosed with a yolk sac tumor. In 2019 she was diagnosed with a benign meningioma, and after a year of trying to find answers, was diagnosed with Adenocarcinoma of the Lung with mucinous features in February of 2021. She finished radiation in April of 2021 and is currently NED! GVCC21 was the first time she attended a GVCC event, and looks forward to all GVCCs. You can connect with her on Instagram at  @RachelleLynn88.

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