The Elephant in the Room is Cancer. Tea is the Relief Conversation Provides.

Reflecting on 2022 and Looking Forward to 2023

by Nick GiallourakisBrother and AdvocateDecember 22, 2022View more posts from Nick Giallourakis

Reflecting on 2022 and Looking Forward to 2023

The elephant in the room is cancer. Tea is the relief conversation provides. This is our motto, short and sweet. Storytelling is the heart and soul of what we do. It is the heartbeat of our organization. Everything that we do revolves around allowing people to share their stories in their own words.

This December also happens to be Elephants and Tea’s fourth birthday. Between our four magazines and all the submissions on our website, we now have over 320 contributors across 10 countries. In addition, we have subscribers across 15 countries.

I never imagined we would reach this many people in such a short period of time.

We strive to reach as many AYAs as possible, so they will know they are not alone in facing cancer. Storytelling is our tool in this endeavor.

Reflecting on 2022

Our little (yet mighty) team grew from two full-time employees to three with the addition of our Director of Marketing, Lisa Orr. My parents decided it was time to take a step back and are no longer on our board of directors’ executive committee and my brother Steven (our organization’s namesake) took the reins as president.

Thank you to my parents, Steven, and the rest of the board of directors for all the amazing support and guidance you give me on a daily basis.

We jumped headfirst (literally, down a Slip ‘N Slide) into launching an in-person sleep-away camp called Young Adult Cancer Camp with our dear friends Stephanie and Lindsey at Young Adult Survivors United. The memories created from this camp will be cherished forever. If you missed it this year, don’t worry, it will be back in 2023.

This month, we will have our third year of YA Cancer Gabfest with our dear friends at Cactus Cancer Society.

This is the second year of our Perkatory events, and we launched an informational series called “A Community Conversation.” And I can’t leave out my family away from family, our Friday Happy Hour crew.

We launched three special edition magazines with our friends at Seagen (Hodgkin lymphoma), Walgreens (Cancer & Fertility), and Servier (Acute Myeloid Leukemia/ Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia) to continue providing a space for AYAs in niche areas.

Thanks to the amazing I’m Not Done Yet Foundation and Lizzy Menges, we were able to grow our “Healing Through Writing Workshops” across the country. We also created our very own guided journal for participants to take with them.

Last, but certainly not least, we launched a new two-year content campaign with our friend Yolanda Murphy, called “One Herd: The State of Underserved AYA Cancer Communities.” This is an innovative and integrative way of using content, stories, and community to better understand and effectively address health disparities in access to care for the medically underserved.

Looking Forward to 2023

Beginning in March, we will be launching our first-ever Elephants and Tea Magazine Event in Houston, Texas. It is time to bring people together as much as we possibly can.

We will be hosting four events that correspond with each of our 2023 magazine issues. These events will take place in different parts of the country to meet our herd where they are, and to make it easier for survivors to connect with others in the AYA cancer community in a cost-effective way. The other cities we will be traveling to are Cleveland, Ohio (May 20), Boston, Massachusetts (September 2023), and Dallas, Texas (December 2023 magazine/January 2024). Be on the lookout for more information.

We will also be bringing back—along with YASU—the YA Cancer Camp in September 2023.

Virtually, Perkatory, YA Cancer Gabfest, and more will be coming, including a digital series on fertility and cancer with Walgreens.

With the experience we have gained with our custom content, we are launching Elephants and Tea Custom Studio. This will allow us to work with corporations, pharmaceutical companies, and other nonprofits to bring the survivor voice and experience to their marketing materials. This will allow us to create more special edition magazine issues to continue bringing taboo topics and cancer specific resources to the community.

Looking Ahead

In 2022, we met our goals of engaging with more people where they are and bringing them together. We also strengthened what we do well, and that is our storytelling programs.

In 2023, we plan on launching two new programs: the Elephants and Tea Magazine Events and Elephants and Tea Custom Studio.

Thank you to our Elephants and Tea stars, Rachel Mihalko and Lisa Orr. Without you two, I don’t know where we (I) would be. Truly, thank you.

Thank you to our amazing supporting cast: Alexia Montgomery, Randy Schirz, Mike Hoff, Yolanda Murphy, Whitney Hadley, Kayla Fulginiti, Taylor Buss, Wendy Griffith, Heather Haemker, and Liz Hiles.

I love you all. Cheers to a New Year.

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