CholangioConnect Mentee Testimonials – Rob Howard

Within hours of my dad's cholangiocarcinoma diagnosis, I was online doing research trying to learn about this type of cancer.  I soon found my way to the comforting and informative website for the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation.  Among other helpful resources like the Mutations Matter video, I found CholangioConnect.  Unsure of what to expect, I filled out the caregiver form.  Within just a few hours I received a phone call from my mentor.  The truth is simple:  The CholangioConnect program fundamentally changed how I navigated the uncertain and scary world of my dad's diagnosis.  My initial phone call with my mentor lasted over an hour and I went from feeling scared and alone to feeling informed, hopeful, and more equipped to face the uncertain times ahead for my dad and our family.  Just something as simple as how to pronounce "cholangiocarcinoma" helped.  As my mentor and I grew our friendship, I learned a great deal as she shared her experiences as a caregiver.  I now knew the right questions to ask about treatment options and felt more prepared by knowing what to expect.  I was no longer navigating this diagnosis in the dark and I had a safe place to also share my worries and fears, which allowed me to remain strong for my dad.  As time went on, I would keep her informed about my dad's doctor's appointments and she would always reach out before and after to let me know she was thinking about me.  I not only gained a lifelong friend but also truly found a family with the entire CCF team.  I am forever grateful for my experience.