A cancer diagnosis can be so isolating. Family and friends cannot always relate to what we are feeling, and many of us want to shield those we love from our pain and fear. As a result, we may feel very alone with our most difficult emotions. We do not need to face cancer alone though. Team Tony is a program designed to connect us with people who know firsthand what we are going through – cancer survivors. Having survived brain cancer despite being told he had only 2 years to live, Tony McEachern, like so many cancer survivors, wanted to make a difference in the lives of others diagnosed with cancer. After walking from Durham, NC back home to Sarasota, FL and raising $57K along the way for Duke University’s brain cancer research, Tony wanted to do more. Reflecting on the huge importance of the relationships he had developed with other cancer fighters and survivors, he decided to launch an organization dedicated to ensuring that all cancer fighters in the Sarasota-area could connect with cancer survivors, people who could relate to their feelings, listen, and provide support. The Team Tony Foundation was launched. It’s mission? To pair cancer survivors with cancer fighters so those diagnosed with cancer get the support they need.
The Team Tony tagline is “Shared Steps through Cancer” because a teammate is someone who, because of their own experience, can relate to the steps the cancer fighter must take. The feelings of sadness, having to tell people, getting treatment, and dealing with medical bills can be overwhelming, but a teammate has been there. Although no two experiences are exactly alike, only a cancer survivor truly knows how it feels to face that battle. Teammates offer support, knowledge, encouragement, and inspiration every step of the way.
To apply to become a volunteer, please visit TeamTony.org. Team Tony volunteers know what it’s like to go through cancer and want to use their life and experiences to support others. This program is all about service to others who are facing a very challenging time in their life.
If you are interested in volunteering, you can also e-mail Michelle Mussett at firstname.lastname@example.org. Michelle will walk you through the application process and share how the program works. Each volunteer receives training on their role and responsibilities as a volunteer. The characteristics we’re looking for in our volunteers are empathy, compassion, and a big heart and smile!