Our story began when Megan Fletcher, our beloved daughter, sister and friend, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at 20 years old. Megan’s condition was aggressive and unresponsive to treatment yet throughout her battle, she had an energy and drive that supported her absolute need to retain her identity and to not get lost in everything having cancer entails!
During her treatment and the challenges she faced, Megan used five words that gave her emotional strength: My Name Is NOT Cancer. She felt empowered by the simplicity of this phrase, which encouraged her to be her own person rather than a victim of cancer. These words gave Megan self-belief and courage probably at the times she felt most vulnerable.
Megan’s personal experience gave her deep wisdom, understanding and insight relating to the emotions of being diagnosed, the fight to survive and, ultimately, the way to face a limited life. Despite the enormity of her diagnosis and prognosis, Megan gifted all who knew her with a wonderful smile and a positivity that she maintained until the end.
Megan died 16 months after receiving her diagnosis. During her illness, she began to formulate the information she believed would be of most use to a cancer patient. It was several month after her death that the full extent of her work and research was discovered. Megan had amassed vast amounts of information relating to different cancers, chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments, online support, chat rooms and organisations that talked about ‘all things cancer’. However, Megan hadn't found anything that guided a patient ‘to be’ and to retain their sense of self without having to relate to a specific religion or particular ideals.
Megan believed the emotional support that would help patients to continue to be themselves despite their diagnosis – to live with the same hopes, dreams and aspirations for the future – did not exist. It was clear from her notes that this gap made her feel incredibly lonely. Cancer is such a dominant force but Megan was adamant it would own her.
Having found little to support her conviction, Megan dedicated what was to be incredibly valuable time and energy during the remainder of her life, developing something to fill this void. She wanted to create a message that would give positivity and empowerment to any person, regardless of age, gender, belief or prognosis, to retain their identity and sense of self despite cancer. Megan’s now celebrated work was published as the MNINC Publication. Unlike all the literature she had read before, Megan did not focus on cancer. The MNINC Publication encourages any individual, whether newly diagnosed with cancer, experiencing treatment, recovered or life limited, to understand that cancer does not define them; it is not their identity: you are still YOU!