Patti Robinson Kaufmann First Connection Program
If you've been recently diagnosed with cancer, you may find it helpful to speak with someone who's been through treatment and learned how to manage the same disease you're trying to cope with each day. The Patti Robinson Kaufmann First Connection Program is a peer-to-peer program that matches newly diagnosed patients and their families with trained volunteers who have been touched firsthand by a blood cancer and shared similar experiences.
Trained volunteer survivors offer caring support and information by sharing their special perspectives on the recovery process. First Connection participants and volunteers are matched by age, diagnosis and gender when possible.
Peers are trained in basic counseling skills and are armed with local resource materials so that patients and family members need not feel isolated as they begin the treatment process. Anyone with a blood cancer is eligible to receive a call or visit. There is no charge for this program.
The program gives patients and family members the opportunity to share experiences with someone who has "been through it," and obtain valuable information about The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and the community resources available to support them. This unique match gives the patient or family member valuable insight from someone who also has experienced a blood cancer.
To Speak with a Peer Volunteer
If you wish to speak to a First Connection peer volunteer, please fill out the online request form. Someone from LLS will contact you by phone to make a connection.
To Become a Peer Volunteer
Peer volunteers are needed at every LLS chapter to carry on the important work of First Connection. To become a peer volunteer, you should meet the following criteria:
- Be a blood cancer survivor (or a family member of a blood cancer survivor) with an interest in, and a commitment to, helping others
- Be screened by the LLS chapter for the program
- Participate in all training provided by the LLS chapter
- Make a one-year commitment to the program and meet periodically to receive continuing education and training at your LLS chapter
To find out more, please contact your local chapter.
"I believe hope is the best thing I can give the people I am connected with through First Connection. I am able to share my experience, answer questions and help newly diagnosed patients to understand what they're feeling is normal." -Linda Lawhorn, Patti Robinson Kaufmann First Connection Program Volunteer