I’m always threatening to move to Portland, Oregon. So you can imagine my excitement as we boarded the plane to get to good ol’ PDX. This is seriously my favorite town in the world. At least that’s what I would tell people before this trip began – I still have a lot of towns to see so my #1 can still be knocked down the list. Ask me when we’re done, and Portland OR will still be pretty high ranking.

Onward to Oregon
Onward to Oregon

So it was important to me to really get the entire Teen and Young Adult Cancer story for Portland. Of course that is near impossible, especially with only two days to capture it. But I packed our schedule so tight – I was going to get as close to that as possible.

The first thing we had to do was drive down to Salem to meet our first new friend, Payton.25 peyton
Payton is currently in treatment for soft tissue sarcoma. So his energy level is so-so; but he still managed to keep up with us for seriously the entire day!

We filmed his interview, then zipped by his high school to play tennis. Then we drove back up to Portland so he could introduce us to his friend, Emma!

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OHSU looks like Bespin Cloud City at night. All twinkly and majestic. The thing that adds to that mystique is that awesome Tram they have that takes you up the hillside!(Hey I promised you this was going to be our “Planes Trains and Automobiles” Leg of the trip. Does a Tram count as a Train? I think so.)

When I asked Payton what activity was important to him to show – his answer was that he wanted to go visit his friend Emma and play video games. Thanks to the team over at OHSU for making it happen!

Emma is in treatment for AML (same as my diagnosis was) and at the time that we met she had already been in the hospital for a long time! Thanksgiving was coming up and she was going to have to spend it in there.

Meeting Emma
Meeting Emma
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So it was great to be able to come and meet her. She’s in the middle of it all and yet so conscious of the issues! She knows how isolating this experience can be and she can really express how important it is to have other teens around during treatment.

I knew Portland was my favorite town ever. And seeing what they have going on at OHSU just made it even better.

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That night we went over to see their annual “Notes of Hope” show. It’s a live storytelling event where Young Adults get up and perform their story in front of a theater audience. So awesome!

You know I’m a story junkie. I truly believe storytelling is a large part of survivorship. So to see a system in place up here that actually puts that into practice? Mind-blowing. I’m so happy to see this is here. I have to come back every year.

Notes of Hope Show, OHSU
Notes of Hope Show, OHSU

At the show I met Brianna, who I’ve been trying to coordinate this day with since we were just a blip rolling through the southwest.

She told a hilarious story about relationships and cancer treatment! You’ll just have to look her up on Youtube. She’s amazing. And she has been using storytelling as a part of her cancer experience since the beginning.

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Leg 6 was seriously amazing and went far too quickly. Can I hit the do-over button on this one? Seattle was amazing but I feel like there’s an underground there that I barely scratched the surface on (Literally — they have an underground city). Alaska was the most beautiful place I’d ever been — but I feel like I truly have unfinished business there (plus I didn’t get to ride a dog sled through the tundra) And Portland? What can I say. They have everything. Someday I may move there. Until then there’s so much work to be done to make things better for Teen and Young Adults fighting cancer everywhere. Until then – you’ll find me on the road…

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A Call To Action