My Survival Story - True stories that change the world of cancer patients

To this day, we underestimate the psychological challenge related to a cancer diagnosis. This is surprising, taking into account that 80% of all patients experience fear and stress related to their disease.

My Survival Story is a non-profit organisation that portraits inspiring cancer survival stories, to help and inspire other patients and families to cope better with their situation.

Cancer - not only a medical challenge

While we invest millions for the intensive care and the expensive controls, we still lack some basic psycho-oncological support. This is surprising, as we know that the vast majority of patients suffers under stress and anxiety related to their diagnosis.

Fear - The permanent companion

A cancer diagnosis is for most patients and families a huge shock. Additional to the intensive care, fear and stress are part of most cancer journeys. Patients suddenly feel confronted with existential questions: “Do I have to die now? What will happen to my partner? Will I ever get healed again?’”

Such feelings often stay present long after the official treatment is finished. Especially during the repeated controls, patients get reminded of their situation. For most patients, such check-ups are emotionally very difficult.

The negative effect of anonymous statistics

Cancer is a horrible disease and for many diagnoses, the survival rates are still not promising. Patients are confronted with such statistics, an experience that often has a shocking and traumatic effect. Such a negative mental state is not very helpful for the healing process.

The power of out-layers

Every statistic has some out-layers and these out-layers can work as powerful inspirations for patients. When Martin Inderbitzin, the initiator of My Survival Story, got diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2012, he experienced personally what it means to be confronted with statistics. He quickly realised that stories of people that did not fit the statistics had a huge positive impact on his mental condition.

My Survival Story changes the world of cancer patients

Based on his personal experience, Martin decided to collect inspiring survival stories and make them available to other patients. In 2014 he founded therefor the non-profit organisation MySurvivalStory.org. Since then he has been documenting survivors from 4 different countries, eliciting a huge response through the online presence of his initiative.

The project is open for other patients as well, allowing them to share their stories over Instagram using the hash-tag #mysurvivalstory. But also film makers are warmly invited to shoot their own videos and submit them to the project. MySurvivalStory is supported by ProHelvetia and by the engagement of many volunteers.

Text: Martin Inderbitzin 12/2015

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