Who Do We Send on Breaks?
GMABFC relies on referrals in order to provide these small respite opportunities (“breaks”) for young adults living with cancer. Our main source of referrals comes from professional oncology-related staff at DC metropolitan area hospitals and treatment facilities, such as Inova’s Life with Cancer program. Any professional healthcare staff member having direct contact with a young adult cancer patient—manager/navigator, therapist/counselor, or social worker—can submit an application directly to GMABFC on behalf of that patient.
In addition, any individual who knows a young adult who could use a break from their cancer activities (e.g., an acquaintance, friend, or family member) can also refer the person to GMABFC. However, the application for the break must be submitted by the patient’s professional oncology-related representative.
Process for Receiving a Break
Break applicants must meet the definition of a young adult (ages 18 to 39) and have a cancer diagnosis. They do not have to be currently in active treatment. They can qualify as long as they have received some form of cancer treatment within the past 12 months of the application. Once an application is submitted, GMABFC reviews and discusses it with the oncology representative and then makes an approve/disapprove decision.
Once a break is approved, the oncology professional acts as a liaison between the young adult receiving the break and the designated GMABFC Break Coordinator who arranges the break. The Break Coordinator also contacts the young adult directly to work out specific break details (e.g., preferred dates, times, locations, cuisines, activities, etc.).
In general, each break’s budget is approximately $500 to $800. Our Break Coordinators make every effort to secure donations and discounts to enhance the value of the break. Breaks can include the cost of one companion for the young adult—a friend or family member in most cases. This, however, is not a requirement of the program. An individual may, for example, request a break to travel alone to visit a relative, attend a conference, obtain a second opinion, etc. Any needed medical support (special transportation needs, skilled attendant services, etc.) is identified in advance by the referring healthcare worker who assists the GMABFC Break Coordinator with the provision of this assistance. Ancillary needs (e.g., childcare, gasoline for a trip, etc.) can also be included in the proposal for a break and can be provided as the break’s budget allows.
After the Break
Although not required, young adults accepting breaks from GMABFC are encouraged to provide us feedback about their experience. Such data are used to refine the program and, with the individual’s permission, promote GMABFC for educational and fundraising purposes.
To refer someone you know who needs a break, please visit our Contact page. Make sure we have sufficient contact information so one of our volunteers can follow up. Thank you!