Just shy of the fourth anniversary of CholangioConnect, there was a celebratory enthusiasm as the administrative entry registered its 500th connection through the Foundation’s mentoring platform. This data is without reservation - truly commendable, but it is the individuals behind the numbers who make this accomplishment genuinely noteworthy.
Volunteers are the pillars of this undertaking and give so much of themselves to others. As the program evolves, the outpouring of community around the globe reinforces our international presence and reminds us of the realization that hardships do not discriminate. These mentors share a part of themselves, offering to walk by the sides of those who seek knowledge and encouragement. Mentors of CholangioConnect understand by experience, the fear, and loneliness of this diagnosis, as all volunteers have a personal relationship with bile duct cancer. They want their every heartbeat to make a difference, and there are so many successes. Beautiful stories abound from mentees who first sought support and now wish to give back and become mentors, because of the compassion extended to them. Profound bonds are forged, and mentorships give way to lasting friendships that are sometimes only possible when both parties emotionally respond to common adversity. They show us the courage and the opportunity to witness humanity at its best.
I am humbled to be a part of the CholangioConnect program and find it a gift to be in the company of people who, every day, offer others a reason to smile.