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Vince was 25, had just finished university and was living a very active lifestyle – running marathons and playing soccer – when he received a shock diagnosis of thyroid cancer. The support he received during his cancer experience has inspired him to volunteer for Cancer Connect, providing peer support to others going through a similar experience.

“My mother and I noticed a lump form near my throat, and I thought it would go away. Good thing she kept on me about seeing a GP… she saved my life,” Vince says.

Vince was diagnosed with a large, progressed cancer that had spread from his thyroid to his lymph nodes throughout his neck and chest. He was immediately started on radiation treatment, which he underwent for eight weeks.

“It was a shock,” Vince says. The weekend before the diagnosis he had achieved an impressive time in the City-Bay marathon and played a full game of soccer. Now he was receiving a cancer diagnosis and treatment plans.

When Vince was diagnosed, he had a sudden large amount of information given to him from his doctors, and sometimes, it was hard to understand some of the medical terms.

Vince recalls, “I received a sheet of information on the cancer by the hospital. The information was very overwhelming, and very negative in terms of my expectancy and outcomes. Then I called 13 11 20.”

Speaking to one of Cancer Council SA’s experienced cancer nurses and a Cancer Connect Volunteer who had been through a similar cancer experience, was an important experience for Vince, and one that would inspire him to also join the Cancer Connect Program as a volunteer.

“Being diagnosed with cancer can be quite isolating within your network as they may not have been affected by cancer before. Especially within my age range, and family can only do so much,” Vince says.

“It’s good to talk to someone who can relate and support you through the journey with lived experience.”

Vince is now cancer-free and has been in remission for 15 years. He is grateful for the immense support he received during his treatment from his family and friends.

“They wouldn’t have been equipped to deal with this – they did their best, but they couldn’t come to this from the knowledge of lived experiences.”

“They love me and can give me that love, but to speak to someone who has the tools and resources to help added to making a difference.”

Cancer Connect is a free and confidential telephone support service that connects people impacted by cancer and carers with a trained volunteer who has recovered physically and emotionally from their own cancer experience.

If you would like to speak to someone about your cancer experience or volunteer to support other who are going through their own cancer diagnosis, call Cancer Council 13 11 20 to register your interest in the Cancer Connect Program.