Whew! We are back from a great trip to Vegas for Stupid Cancer‘s annual OMG Conference, “the biggest gathering of its kind.” When Mikey was diagnosed with cancer now 6 years ago, our world opened up to an incredible demographic of other young adult survivors and caregivers and our world hasn’t been the same since. We attended OMG in 2012, the first of three years in Vegas and came back this year with our good friend Pat Taylor of Chasing Rainbows Young Adult Cancer Advocacy to present.
Pat is one amazing woman, and we were happy to collaborate with her as she was the parent voice in our session entitled “Lessons from the Valley,” in which we used our most recent webseries, “Valleys,” to share tips to help maintain healthy relationships during and post-cancer.
The conference started off with a bang as about 450 young adult cancer survivors and supporters gathered at The Palms to learn, connect and advocate for the movement of letting the public know that young adults get cancer too. The connection (peer to peer) and networking (as professionals) is the biggest bonus of this type of event, and we were able to see old and make new friends within this community.
With Emily, Pat, Catherine, Mikey and Eric from mAss kickers!
Yes, tumors DO suck.
Some personal highlights included a mini Grand Canyon reunion with Matt from the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation and Mike from the Testicular Cancer Society. It was also awesome to see Emily from Cancer Fight Club face to face – another Canadian doing amazing things for young adults with cancer!
I really enjoyed the keynote speakers and the breakout sessions I attended, including a fitness-focused one about taking your first step post-treatment to get healthier (main takeaway? Take it easy, try to add more movement in your days) and Dan Shapiro‘s talk. Laughing one moment, crying the next, this guy is not only relatable (maybe one day I’ll tell our sprem banking story too!) as a cancer survivor of hogekin’s lymphoma (same as Mikey had), but as a Ph.D. is a psychologist, speaker, author, and on-camera presenter on the faculty at the Penn State College of Medicine. We look forward to partnering more in the future with Dan on our trips and as someone who has walked the business and professional line that Mikey hopes to move down in the years to come! Oh – and although you can’t tell from the photo, he’s a super sharp dresser too. 😉
We also had some fun events on the go thanks to the conference itinerary, including a free trip up the Ghost Bar in The Palms, an exhibit hall with so many incredible non profits to check out and meals shared with friends.
At the top of the Ghost Bar – a great view of the Strip!
I managed to squeeze in my workouts too, which felt great while enjoying a buffet here and a fun dessert out there:
I also kept up with my #plpchallenge and am on day 36 (out of 60) today!
Post-conference learning, networking, sharing, laughing and crying, Mikey and I spent a day and two nights at the Wynn for some relaxation before heading back home. Although it only equated to a few hours in total by the pool, we soaked it all in, loved our view in the beautiful room and had a great time sleeping in and relaxing.
There was also a little gambling…at one point we were up $40 and then broke even, eventually losing the $10 we used to gamble (we’re on a budget). 😉
We walked the strip the last night, got some pool time in the next morning and enjoyed a super cheap and delicious local taco joint to save some money before arriving back in Calgary Tuesday evening.
All in all, it was a pretty fantastic trip. Check out my Instagram feed for more videos of our sweet room in the Wynn, workout ideas from what I did while away and glimpses of the conference. I’m so grateful to be involved in this community because it is incredible supportive and adds so much to my life and experiences. Already looking forward to shaking hands and giving hugs at next year’s OMG Conference, which is the FIRST international conference being hosted in Denver! CancerCon 2015, here we come! …It will be so neat to collaborate cross-border in an “official” way!
What’s new with you guys?! I fell off the blogging planet but I’m back! Got a review to share, a new approach to my eating to share that starts tomorrow and of course workouts and inspiration from others I find as usual! Have a great Wednesday – the sun is shining and I’m off to train some clients and classes! Catch ya later,