by Erie Yamashita, Fellow Tomorrow
The group`s name “Fellow Tomorrow” has a wishful meaning of “Let`s make TOMORROW together with FELLOW friends who have the same experiences”.
About “Fellow Tomorrow”
“Fellow Tomorrow” was established 1993. About 20 survivors are now in our group. We get together every three months and have meetings to share our problems or do some activities together. Our survivors’ group is attached to supported by CCAJ(Children’s Cancer Association of Japan).
And we also get financial resources and supports from CCAJ.
Condition for Participation in FT
There are some conditions in order to participate in FT: Our group is for survivors. They must know the condition of their health and the name of their disease and they have to understand the objectives of FT’s activities and also must want to participate in our group.
Our activities are based on the following three points.
- Make Friends: We offer chances to meet friends with those who have had similar experiences.
- Exchange Information: We share our experiences with the disease and its treatment.
- Approach to Society: We work collaboratively to present correct information to the public in order to raise knowledge and understanding of childhood cancer.
Annual Events of FT
We have 4 periodic meetings per a year. We hold the general meeting always in June together with CCAJ’s annual meeting. At this meeting, we discuss what kind of events we shall have and decide on the members who are going to be in charge of activities. In September, December and February we have a regular meeting. By sharing experience we can exchange our own feelings about disease and come up with ideas. We think this means “Exchange Information”.
Approach to Society
One of our activities is: FT members are trying to approach the society. For example, we participate in the meetings of ICCCPO. Or we participate in events of companies and talk about our experiences and our activities.
Survivors’ groups in Japan
There are 13 Survivors’ groups in Japan and each group does their original activities. One group does survivors’ Camp, the other group does volunteer work at the children’s hospital. Or other groups have discussion meetings on various subjects. We try to work hard to communicate with other survivors individually and/or as a group.
The leaders meeting is one of the most important events of the survivors group in Japan. This meeting is supported by CCAJ. Once a year, all group leaders get together. It was started in 2003 and each year one regional group takes charge of the leaders meeting. The group in charge of the meeting decides and plans the program of the meeting.
Each group does different activities. So we need to talk and exchange information about what we are doing. This helps to learn what activities work well and what doesn’t work. At the meetings we discuss – among others – “how to invite new members and how to keep them”. Often the new-comer attends the group only once or twice and stops coming. We have to think about that situation seriously.
We want to have a warm and cheerful atmosphere which attracts both new-comers and the current members. We also discuss the difficulty of the transition of the leader to the next generation.
- We hope to approach the general public and to inform about childhood cancer.
- We are trying to support the survivors who have difficulty to join our group.
- To meet other survivors’ groups is a precious and happy occasion for us.
- We hope we have more chances and spend more time together.
- Since each survivors’ group has different information, ideas and hopes, we want to exchange those more frequently.
- We want to support each other and hope to create a mutual understanding of each other and our background..
- We work collaboratively to present correct information about children’s cancer.
For the future
We are very happy to get more experience and to broaden our views by attending the international conferences. We are trying to operate our survivors’ network effectively and hope to produce good and fruitful results. We try to exchange more information with international survivors’ networks and bring back and pass them on to survivors in Japan. As the Japanese survivors, we want to convey our thoughts and communicate sincerely and actively with survivors of other countries.