Today is a victorious day, because today I received my own address for the first time since I drove out of Austin on July 15th for my very first road trip. I packed everything I wanted in my car, including my two dogs Zoe and Giselle, and headed towards Colorado. I’m excited to report that for the past three months I’ve been house sitting for friends, supporting so many clients and friends on their journey, and even landed in Telluride on Tuesday and will start working at the Spa at the Peaks starting November 18th, which allows my participation in the scholarship awarded to attend the upcoming conference, but I need your help!
Earlier in the year, I had applied to receive a $1,000 scholarship to attend the 3rd Annual Breast Cancer in Young Women International Conference in honor of Amber Gillespie and all the beautiful advocates I’ve known over the years who are no longer with us. I was thrilled when I was notified that I had won one of a few scholarships to attend the conference that is being held in Lugano, Switzerland. This conference is hosted by the European School of Oncology, or ESO and The European Society for Medical Oncology or ESMO. The only caveat for the scholarship is that I must pay for all of my expenses upfront to attend the conference and then I will receive the scholarship funding once I’ve returned. This would be my first trip to this conference and I am thrilled for numerous reasons to attend including:
- The opportunity to witness, discuss and bring back to the states information and highlights from presentations based upon scientific research covering topics such as Familial and hereditary breast cancer, Tumor biology, logo-regional therapy, Fertility and pregnancy, Survivorship and quality of life issues, and Advanced breast cancer.
- Because I spent a year living in Geneva, Switzerland before moving back to Houston to be later diagnosed with breast cancer as a young woman myself. You see, the attitude towards breast cancer has changed considerably since I was first diagnosed in 2009 and some of my friends from Europe thought they would never see me again. Not because I couldn’t fly to Switzerland, but because the cancer would take my life. Little did everyone know that I was sent back to Texas during a divorce for a reason, and that was to survive and thrive after breast cancer under the guidance of Dr. Yen from North Cypress Cancer Center and then to Dr. Osborne and the amazing staff at Baylor College of Medicine.
- The opportunity to return to Switzerland to participate in the Patient Advocate Sessions and workshops chaired by our very own Young Survival Coalition President, J. Merschdorf seemed amazing since I’ve been a State Leader volunteer hosting socials and support groups for survivors on behalf of YSC ever since I was diagnosed.
Yet, my journey that started on July 15th has been an amazing ride. Kind of like the trip most young people take between High School and College or College and Grad School kind of big. Not to mention that I am also applying for Grad School. So as I confirmed my new address and chose to use funds to help secure a rental property with the help of three roommates, I am now unable to attend the Conference and would like to ask for your support to get there on behalf of breast cancer survivors and patient advocates everywhere. I say this because being a patient advocate is a volunteer job that I take very seriously. For years, I’ve attended conferences and symposia all over the country as a scholared advocate to learn, network and promote the new opportunities in survivorship that include happyness and even road trips to find a heart centered community. Raising money for YSC seems easier than this request, but now it’s about my own development so that I can continue sharing and disseminating the information that is so vital so those that are newly diagnosed.
No matter where I go, or what I do, it’s about sharing information and educating those about taking care of themselves to prevent future diagnoses caused by undue stress. It’s the silent killer. If you are going through a divorce, death in the family, relocation or any other kind of emotional catastrophic incident then please know that you are not alone. I’ve been through all of the above at once, and then was diagnosed with breast cancer and have flipped the script on my story to one of thriver and over-comer to become a Global Patient Advocate.
There are many ways to support my journey to the 3rd Annual Breast Cancer in Young Women International Conference coming up on November 10-12 in Lugano, Switzerland:
- First and foremost is securing a flight to Zurich from IAH allowing my attendance to the entire Conference. If you have frequent flyer miles through an airline that flies to Zurich, then I would be most grateful to hear from you. Or if you’d like to support the purchase of a ticket, then I could make the reservations in advance so that it could be purchased. As of today, flights range from $1,153 to $1529 for roundtrip airfare leaving on Monday, November 7th and returning on Monday November 14th and I am flexible on the dates. Expedia reports that the airfare will rise 18% over the next 4 days.
- Second, I’d need financial support to cover the travel expenses including the train from Zurich to Lugano, and three nights stay at the hotel during the conference. The train trip is $98 each way Economy. Booking a hotel in Lugano during the conference is around $251 per night and doesn’t include taxes.
- Good News is that the registration for the conference itself has already been waived since I am a scholarship recipient. I can get a ride to and from the airport, and pack light. Plus, a good friend in Geneva has volunteered to be my host for any time before or after the conference, which would allow time to share the message of hope and happyness to friends and those at the American International Women’s Club in Geneva, plus also a visit to the United Nations.
Please make a donation to support this valuable experience for me to attend the Conference as a scholar recipient so that together we can continue to spread the message of hope to not only those newly diagnosed in the states but those around the world that there are numerous stories of hope and happyness after being diagnosed with Stage III Breast Cancer. If I do not receive any support within the next four days, then I will have to miss this incredible experience. Please make a donation of any kind before Halloween.
Please contact me and/or send funds via apps including CASH by Square to 713-232-9796 or via VENMO to @SandySparkleCastillo. Thank you!