Mike Lang brings program to help young cancer patients to Alberta

Cancer survivor Mike Lang is launching a new program in Alberta designed to help young adults undergoing cancer treatment cope with their unique challenges.

Young cancer patients target of new support program

Cancer survivor Mike Lang is organizing a camp for young cancer patients. (CBC)

A new program designed to help young adults undergoing cancer treatment cope with their unique challenges was launched on Thursday.

Survive and Thrive founder Mike Lang teamed up with Kids Cancer Care to create the program. 

From March 20 to 22, Survive and Thrive and the Kids Cancer Foundation are hosting a free retreat for cancer patients aged 18 to 39 at Camp Kindle, northwest of Calgary.

Lang says connecting patients with others in their age group will allow them to learn from each other.

Lang, who was 25 when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, says he had been very athletic and the treatments left him feeling isolated from his usual social group.

“I think it's just natural for people in their 20s and 30s to not know how to deal with suffering or difficulty or know how to have those conversations … because it’s not so common,” he said.

“I would meet a friend from high school in the coffee shop and they would say, ‘Hey Mike, you’re back in town. What are you up to?’ And how do you respond to that? ‘I’m doing a bit of chemotherapy, a bit of radiation, you know, what are you up to?’ It’s not an easy conversation to have.”

Lang says adolescents and young adults facing cancer have to deal with a lot of other issues, including how treatment will affect their fertility, their educational pursuits and their careers.