At Patient Empowerment Network (PEN), we believe it is our duty as advocates to reach as many patients as possible by creating and curating relevant content. This includes our PEN-Powered Activity Guides, #PatientChats, blog posts, and educational media written by cancer patients and care partners for cancer patients and care partners.
As Empowerment Leads (previously Network Managers), each one of us strives to create content that is relatable and easy to understand, all while promoting PEN’s mission “to fortify cancer patients and care partners with the knowledge and tools to boost their confidence, put them in control of their healthcare journey, and assist them in receiving the best, most personalized care available to ensure they have the best possible outcome.”
As Empowerment Leads, we look to guide patients in the right direction when it comes to quality, comprehensive cancer care. While each one of us comes from a background that is unique, as members of a community of people who have been touched by cancer in one way or another, we have found that we’re more alike than we initially understood. As volunteers, we aim to empower PEN’s community by using our various talents, including writing, conducting interviews with physicians, and producing comedy shows, amongst others. We do this because we’ve been there, and we know what it’s like to have to go through trying times when it comes to a devastating diagnosis, such as cancer.
Furthermore, Empowerment Leads recognize the importance of having someone to speak to. We can have all the education, but sometimes you want to speak to another person who can relate to what you’re going through. Each one of the Leads has their own email you can send a message to at any time with any questions you may have. There’s also a text line PEN recently created, all for the purpose of getting information to the right person at the right time. Please note, though, that any information passed on does not constitute as medical advice, and information should also be discussed with your healthcare team.
Finally, although there has been a name change, the power of our program has not changed. We are here for the patient community and always will be. That is our mission, and we’re sticking to it!
Carly Flumer is a young woman who was diagnosed with stage I papillary thyroid cancer at the age of 27. She recently received her Master’s degree from Boston University in Health Communication and received her Bachelor’s from George Mason University in Health Administration and Policy. While being diagnosed with the “C” word at such a young age was a surprise, as it would be to anyone, she found strength, support, and inspiration in sharing her cancer journey on social media. As a result of her health outcome, she looks to advocate for other cancer patients through education, research, and health literacy.