It goes without saying that dealing with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses is no easy task. While the physical damages are horrendous, often the emotional stress that comes from these traumatizing events is overlooked by healthcare providers. Although doctors do everything that they can to heal the body, accessing the mental strain of patients, their caregivers, families, and friends is sometimes pushed to the wayside.  We spoke with Kristin MacDermott, co-founder of Reimagine.me, a remarkable online tool that has built an amazing community of those affected by cancer to work through this neglected issue. Find out more about this life-changing resource and why it is changing the game forever.

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Why did you start Reimagine.me?

We started Reimagine.me because our research with Duke showed that we had created a program that was transforming people’s experiences with cancer and profoundly improving their lives, and we wanted to make it available to everyone who wants it. As it is, people are left mostly on their own to cope with the psychological and emotional devastation cancer causes in their lives, and now we have something that is proven in multiple studies with researchers from the Duke Cancer Institute to improve quality of life across every major psychosocial benchmark, including distress, anxiety, depression, PTSD and even fatigue. Reimagine.me allows us to bring our proven program right into people’s homes. Our online education platform allows people to learn our unique resiliency training curriculum whenever it fits into their schedules, while remaining completely anonymous, if they choose.

Who qualifies for Reimagine.me?

Reimagine.me is for anyone touched by cancer – patients, survivors, caregivers, loved ones, friends and even providers. One thing that isn’t widely discussed is the lack of resources for people when they are “done with treatment” and transition into “survivorship.” This can actually be one of the most difficult phases of the cancer journey, but many people suffer in silence. Reimagine.me is a powerful tool for moving through this transition and putting your life back together. I also want to say that caregivers and loved ones deserve support and can benefit from the program just as much as patients, and we encourage people to do the Core Program together.

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How large is the Reimagine.me community?

Thousands of people have been through the Core Program, but we only recently launched the online community and have just begun getting the word out about it. One of the things that makes our community unique is that it is monitored by the same people who teach our live, online sessions. These people, called Pillar Guides, guide the conversations so they generate relevant, useful, actionable ideas for addressing member’s specific concerns. Everything we do is based on our proven Seven Pillars of Personal Strength™, which are proven skills and strategies for thriving in the face of cancer and other life-altering challenges.

What has been one of your favorite success stories from a member?

I don’t have one favorite story. We have online graduation ceremonies, in which people who have completed the Core Program come together to celebrate their accomplishment and reflect on what they’ve learned and how they’ve changed. I attend as many as possible, because the stories are profoundly moving. It really boils down to helping people face their fears and reconnect to the people and activities that give their lives meaning and joy. Hearing the relief in people’s voices and even hearing laughter when in the beginning there was only terror is what it’s all about.

Describe Reimagine.me in 3 words…

Real, tangible relief

How much does a membership cost?

For $14.99/month you get access to 10 self-paced online modules with over 100 videos and activities, a workbook and journal, and unlimited live sessions with our specially-trained instructors called Pillar Guides. You also get 24/7 access to our community, which is also monitored by Pillar Guides and where you can get insight and inspiration around the topics that matter to you.

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We know there isn’t one quick fix, but what are some of your best tips for dealing with the trauma of illness?

  • Surround yourself with people who support your choices
  • Communicate your needs and wishes
  • Have an advocate at all medical appointments
  • Find a doctor you can trust
  • Learn some skills to quiet your mind and relax your body

What can people do to help their government/city officials see the importance of taking care of mental health as well as physical health?

Few people in the healthcare system or government would argue that mental health is as important as physical health. However, until now it was prohibitively expensive to offer effective mental health care in conjunction with medical care, because the traditional model of one-on-one, face-to-face counseling is not scalable. Reimagine changes all that by making evidence-based care for the emotional side of cancer affordable and accessible to everyone. Now all we need to do is get the word out that it exists.

Is there anything a community member can do to aid people suffering through this?

Give reimagine as a gift or at least, tell people that it exists.

 

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