This May marked one year since ZERO launched its Caregiver Connector Program! The peer-to-peer match program has provided safe, personalized support for caregivers all over the country during a time of need, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced in-person support groups to halt, and families battling prostate cancer felt even more isolated than before. We could not be more proud of all the inspiring Caregiver Mentors and Mentees who made this program possible.
Our programs are only as great as the people who participate in them. To celebrate the one year anniversary of Caregiver Connector, ZERO wanted to highlight some of its caretakers who have made such an impact over the past year.
“I want to help people treasure the moments they have with their loved one and have no regrets, since so much growth comes from caregiving,” said Athena Bogdanos, a Caregiver Mentor from New York City. Athena lost her father in 2018 after a long battle with prostate cancer; she says that one of the best parts of being a Caregiver Mentor is being able to help others who were in similar situations.
“I am able to give the advice that maybe I wanted,” she said. “Everyone’s story is different, and everyone needs someone that they can talk to and will make them feel safe.”
Deborah McLean is another Caregiver Mentor who has been involved with the program ever since its inception.
“When the program came up I thought, ‘This is what I wanted when I was in the more active stage of my husband’s protocol,’” she says. “So I wanted to be a part of giving to the program. I also get a fair amount from it still because it reassures me that my feelings too are validated by talking to others.”
The Caregiver Connector Program matches up our Mentors with caretakers from all walks of life. We’ve seen caretakers who are spouses, sons, daughters, siblings, or friends of prostate cancer patients; we’ve seen caretakers who are by their loved one’s side day-to-day, or who provide long-distance support. Being a caretaker is a selfless act, but no one has to go through it alone.
Keisha Hampton’s partner CC Williams was diagnosed with prostate cancer two years ago, and the two of them quickly found a home within ZERO’s patient programs. Now, Keisha has joined the Caregiver Connector program as a mentee, and says that the bond between mentor and mentee goes both ways.
“I was connected with a mentor in Dallas,” she told ZERO. “I told her my story and she told me her story. We talk all the time, so it’s really helpful for both of us.”
We at ZERO are so thrilled to be able to provide this resource for caregivers in the prostate cancer community. To learn more about the program, check out our patient programs page here. Here’s to many more years of supporting caregivers!