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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

BU: Student Creates Video on What to Say When a Loved One Has Cancer

Hearing that a loved one has cancer can be traumatic, emotional, and overwhelming. Finding the right words to comfort that person can also be challenging.

Ms. Andrea DeMarsh, a Master of Science student studying epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH), recently completed a video project that offers guidance on how people can respond in a helpful manner when someone they care about shares this news.

Ms. DeMarsh received an Activist Bucks grant from BUSPH’s Activist Lab to fund the production of a short video for the Young Adult Program (YAP) at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where she works full-time as a senior clinical research coordinator in the institute’s Pediatric Stem Cell Transplant Program. Last semester, Ms. DeMarsh helped the YAP leadership team brainstorm content and messaging for the video, which was produced by JV Films. She sought first-hand input from YAP’s patient community (ages 18-39) to understand what they considered to be the most valuable types of support after they were diagnosed with cancer.

“The young adult population is so integrated online these days, so the idea of a video made sense,” says Ms. DeMarsh. “The project aimed to empower cancer patients and survivors with a platform to communicate their experiences and share the video via social media to provide a voice to their peers and to the public.”

Titled “What to Say (and Not to Say) to a Friend with Cancer,” the video takes a modern approach to educate the public on how to show honest empathy and support to a person who has cancer, without dismissing the reality of a grim and unexpected situation.

The video is available on Dana-Farber’s website and social media pages and has been viewed hundreds of times on YouTube.

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