MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It is estimated that in 2021, there will be 1,898,160 new cancer cases and 608,570 cancer deaths in the United States according to the American Cancer Society.
There is an online community that focuses on men diagnosed with cancer called "Man Up To Cancer." This support group that encourages men not to isolate when receiving the diagnosis was founded in 2020 by Trevor Maxwell, a stage IV colorectal cancer survivor from Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
Recently, the community selected 18 members to reach out and expand to other parts of the US and Canada. One of the 18 is Memphian Steven Barker, husband and father of two that was diagnosed 2019 with stage III non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Barker took chemotherapy and is now in NED (No Evidence of Disease).
“Man Up To Cancer saved my life, but it was actually after I beat my cancer. Finally, I had found the people that ‘got me’. The comradery from the other members is different than any other social media platform I have ever experienced,” Barker said. “The support needed during and after treatment best comes from other men that have been there, or are currently there. I have built some incredible friendships in this space, and offering the same support to others has brought my life incredible purpose.”
Barker will serve as a Wolfpack leader for a one-year term. A Wolfpack Leader connects with local cancer centers and provides direct support to fellow cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers facing all types of cancer.
Man Up to Cancer is comprised of a website, podcast, social media, and a Facebook group of more than 1,300 men, known informally as the 'Wolfpack'.
“The core of Man Up to Cancer is about being strong enough to accept help. We’re trying to flip the script on what ‘manning up’ means,” Maxwell said. “That’s why the Wolfpack Leaders program has such great potential. These men represent all regions of the U.S. and Canada, and they’re stepping up as role models.”