As the founder of The Cope Well Foundation, it was my own diagnoses of Melanoma Skin Cancer and my personal journey with cancer survivorship, that sparked my initial passion to start a foundation that could have a positive and lasting impact on those it supported, while having relevance to my own experience. To determine the basis for the foundation, I explored the affects that cancer had on my life and those around me, as well as the affects that cancer had on other survivors, and how they were ‘coping’ with their own survivorship.
Through my exploration, I came to three very important realizations of cancer survivorship. First, although the physical affects of cancer are challenging and even life altering, it’s the emotional affects that, because not addressed and dealt with properly, have the lasting impact. It seems that more times than not more focus is put on the physical affects of cancer and the emotional affects got overlooked, thus creating additional, yet manageable problems.
Second, because not everyone knows how to recognize and effectively cope with the emotional concerns of cancer survivorship, nor do they know where to turn to for help due to the lack of emphasis that’s put on the issue, efforts of coping with these concerns on their own are less than successful. Ultimately, the survivor is only masking those feelings and not truly dealing with them and getting to the root of the concern. To top it off, limited financial resources make it difficult to pay for certain types of support even if the survivors wants to address their concerns, so again they continue to try to cope with their emotions on their own.
And third, I become aware of the overwhelming magnitude of how many people are actually affected by cancer. I was always aware that cancer touches the lives of so many, but it suddenly became clear to me how many of those people actually surround me. They’re people that I see or talk to everyday but never had a clue of what some of them are going through. For some, I am very aware of their situation because of the type of cancer that they have or had, and because of the enormous amount of effort that select organizations and groups make to raise awareness for those types of cancers. However, for all the other cancers and survivors, it seems as though they got overlooked and almost forgotten. I’ve learned that some of those survivors even feel that because their cancer isn’t in the public eye as much as other types of cancers, that their survivorship journey isn’t as important or life altering, and they don’t have the right to have as much emotional concerns as other survivors.
For these reasons, I created The Cope Well Foundation to provide ALL survivors of ALL cancer types with outlets to help them recognize, cope with and overcome the emotional challenges of their own survivorship, so the emotional affects of their journey will have a positive impact on their lives instead of a negative one. In addition, and will do our best to increase the amount of recognition that these individuals receive, and we’ll continue to bring awareness to ALL survivors of ALL cancer types.
Although our aspirations are high, the sad reality is there is still a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done in the global fight against cancer, and the affect that cancer has on those who are diagnosed. We don’t know what causes certain types of cancers, nor do we know how to prevent it, but with your support we can help improve the lives of those who are living with it by helping them understand it. With the more than 28 million people affected by cancer around the world, and the close to 11 million new cases that are diagnosed each year, this is an obvious issue and cause that can’t be ignored.
We have a mission to accomplish, but we can’t get there without you. With a multitude of ways in which you can support The Cope Well Foundation and those affected by cancer, together we can accomplish our mission much more effectively. We ask that you please take a moment to peruse our website to find a way that is comfortable and appropriate for you to participate in our programs and support all those cancer survivors who are living all around us.
I personally thank each and every one of you who support our mission and who have made it possible for the dreams of The Cope Well Foundation to become a reality. Your generosity and commitment will forever make a difference in the lives of those supported through our program. For that, we will forever be grateful. I would also like to thank those of you who have allowed us into your lives and have trusted us during a very personal and vulnerable moment. Because of your openness with us, our program continues to grow and will forever make a difference in the lives of many more to come.
“I wouldn’t die from my cancer. Instead, I would learn how to live with it.
Today I am able to cope well to live well.”
Ashley Johnson – Founder of The Cope Well Foundation
The Cope Well Foundation is applying for 501(c)(3) status according to federal guidelines. PO Box 12502 Grand Forks, North Dakota 58208 701.738.4897 Legal