Hailey Johnston is the founder of Escape, a grassroots organization learning and working to best serve adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers. Escape provides support and resources for LGBTQIA+ AYA cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers plus a virtual monthly meet up.
In her blog Hailey discusses her experiences with Hodgkins Lymphoma as a young adult, finding support within the queer cancer community and the reasons she established Escape.
I was terrified of disappointing my family, especially my parents. My evangelical upbringing fueled my fear of being condemned and rejected for who I am so much that this anxiety was always at the forefront of my mind. My parents had watched me go through a life threatening illness. They were so proud of everything I was doing in my survivorship, that the idea of doing anything that could hurt them felt worse than not openly living my truth.
As I started to gain visibility as a queer advocate, I had accepted that my nuclear family would likely find out sooner rather than later through social media, though I had still hoped to tell them on my own terms after graduation. I was outed before either could take place. It was difficult and has continued to be difficult with my family, but I am grateful to openly express myself now.