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Behind the scenes filming the LiveLaughLearn videos

To mark the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness month last week, Rethink proudly launched exciting new digital resources for young women on the first-ever digital breast cancer channel. Essentially, we’ve given our YouTube channel a major makeover, affectionately christened it “BoobTube,” and are aiming to reach even more young women affected by and concerned about breast cancer across Canada—and around the globe! We are excited to bring the world inspirational and informative content that speaks to young women in their own voice. With a bit of sass and style, plus high production values, we want to use the online platform to make our resources as widely available as possible.

The first series of new videos released on Rethink’s digital channel are called LiveLaughLearn and they evolved out of the peer-to-peer support work we do with young women. Whenever we get a group of young women together for an evening of education, support and networking, I always notice how wonderfully noisy it is in the room—everyone immediately starts sharing tips, tricks and advice with each other. We thought this natural inclination would make a great video series to kick off our digital breast cancer channel.  We asked a few women we know to think about what helped them cope with breast cancer; what’s one thing they would like to tell another young woman facing breast cancer. And then we asked them to share it with the world and star in our videos. We are so thrilled they said yes!

In each video a young woman who has gone through treatment for breast cancer shares a personal tip.  The topics cover everything from the benefits of physiotherapy to aid recovery, to coping with chemotherapy and how to find a bathing suit that can fit a breast prosthesis.  We have tons of ideas for more content and plan to roll out several new videos in 2015. Early ideas include a series on beauty tips to help overcome different issues that arise during cancer treatment, health and fitness, talking to your friends and family about cancer, and a series specifically for metastatic women. Stay tuned!

We know that young women facing breast cancer have different challenges than older women and want to be spoken to in their own voice. Our goal is for the videos to be informative to a newly diagnosed young woman and also to help put her at ease during a very overwhelming and challenging situation. It can be very isolating for young women to be diagnosed with a disease that is much more common in older women. Older women surround them on the cancer wards and in support groups, and the materials they are given at the hospital are usually geared towards seniors. They feel like misfits. Moreover, side effects from treatment can cause premature menopause, weight gain and tiredness that makes them feel like seniors. The style and tone of our LiveLaughLearn series is designed to be accessible and relevant to young women. We think giving a young woman a chance to share her story and see other young women like her is important to healing.

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Chatting with Sylvia Soo about the Cancer Fabulous Diaries

And for those who haven’t been affected by cancer, we hope our boobtube offerings will give them more insight into the disease, prevention tips to help live a healthy lifestyle, greater understanding for what those who are going through it are dealing with and maybe even inspire them to donate and keep our work going.

In addition to our new LiveLaughLearn videos, we have launched a powerful and exciting ‘zine, the Cancer Fabulous Diaries. Part personal memoir, part practical handbook, The Cancer Fabulous Diaries features the experiences of Sylvia Soo, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 25, along with information and tips from experts and other women who have been through the disease. You can watch a video of me chatting with Sylvia about the Cancer Fabulous Diaries here.