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The Gathering of Wolves - by JJ Singleton

A group of men with cancer who attended Man Up to Cancer event

My name is JJ Singleton I'm a colorectal cancer patient from Canton North Carolina.

I was diagnosed in 2015 at the age of 27, been on chemo for life since 2016. I'm an advocate for colorectal cancer and breaking down stigmas and hurdles around screening and talking about colorectal cancer as well as mental health and the hurdles of living with cancer.

From just waiting to die from cancer to living with it

It’s been 356 days since I landed in Buffalo New York last September for the inaugural Man Up To Cancer event called Gathering Of the Wolves. A bit of backstory Man Up to Cancer is a group of now 2200 guys dealing and living with any type of cancer or caregiver to someone with cancer it’s a website with resources, it’s a podcast “go listen to them especially my episode” and it’s a private Facebook page that allows men to talk to vent to express feelings etc. This group has been monumental in my journey from just waiting to die from cancer to living with it.

From not knowing what to expect to a lasting impact on my life

This event was the very first one and over 50 guys from all over America Canada and even an amazing guy from Belgium came to experience this. I went in not really knowing what to expect but what happened over those 3 days was an experience like nothing I’ve ever had. It has made a lasting impact on my life and as year 2 of the Gathering comes closer just a few weeks away I want to share why this memory is one of the most important in my life with cancer but also my life, and to get excited about year 2.

I get goosebumps everytime I think about that weekend last year and that’s rare for me. I do have deep emotions and feelings but after 7+ years of living with cancer I’ve become in a sense numb at times and keep my emotions buried and hidden. Even while I was there I wasn’t letting my emotions be very visible and that’s just me and who I am. But let me tell you those goosebumps and electric feeling I get when thinking of it is all encompassing.

Love, acceptance, and understanding

Love acceptance understanding in a way nobody else can understand support laughter and joking all these words aren’t what you might expect when thinking of a large group of men from around the world coming together but we are different we have all had cancer change our life in so many ways and finally found a place to truly express it. Gathering of the Wolves allowed so many amazing guys a chance to finally be in the presence of others who truly understood what they were talking about and feeling. Also allowed a free flowing of support and love that wasn’t impacted by the outside world which is so important in our world. I seen laughing crying and loving during this event and that still brings a tear to my eye to remember how I could sit back with my cold drink and watch guys lives change due to being there and seeing in person what this group is and could.

Man Up to Cancer changed my life

Man Up to Cancer is about a community of men connected by cancer but brought together by the friendship the love made by being there and supporting one another to not isolate during cancer to show that guy they have someone and the yearning we all feel to belong even though this hell we have lived or are living through.

Man Up To Cancer changed my life in so many ways from finding true friendship to giving me a feeling of belonging after years of feeling the opposite, without this group I would never met one of my best friends or stepped foot into the advocacy world and been able have the experiences I’ve had over last 2 years. That is what this group and this Gathering means to me and how last year it touched my heart and soul and know this year in a few days will do the same.

KFG my brothers see you soon. And for any man you know that needs a community a brotherhood friends and a I’m place to be his self check out Man Up To Cancer.


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