Merck has announced a collaboration with journalist, author and longtime cancer advocate, Katie Couric, to launch “With Love, Me,” a new feature of Merck’s U.S. patient awareness campaign, Your Cancer Game Plan. Couric will join the program, which showcases a series of heartfelt letters on WithLoveMe.com written by caregivers and cancer survivors to their former selves touching upon what they wished they had known – or needed to hear – when they were first coping with a cancer diagnosis.
“A cancer diagnosis can be life-shattering. Having lost both my husband Jay and sister Emily to this disease, as well as my mother-in-law and too many friends, I know firsthand how traumatic and isolating it can be,” said Couric. “Finding a community of people going through similar situations can be incredibly useful and comforting to patients and caregivers alike. I’m thrilled to work with Merck to share these firsthand accounts, and I hope they will help families navigate these challenging situations and feel less alone.”
In collaboration with more than a dozen patient advocacy groups, Merck developed “With Love, Me” to help people facing cancer who want to learn and connect with others who have gone through similar experiences. Shared experiences have a powerful way of connecting people, especially when it comes to cancer. Learning what it’s like, or what to possibly expect, as a patient or caregiver through another’s journey can allay fears and anxieties and may even help prepare for the future. As part of the campaign, everyone is encouraged to share their #WithLoveMe message on social media because each personal cancer experience may help someone else on their journey with cancer.
“Partnering with Katie was an obvious choice, given her life’s passion for increasing education, advocacy and awareness of cancer,” said Jill DeSimone, senior vice president, oncology at Merck. “‘With Love, Me’ brings an incredible wealth of shared experiences from people who understand firsthand what it is like to go through the challenges of having cancer. We believe Katie – as an impassioned storyteller and someone who has been personally impacted by the disease – will elevate these stories to help support others faced with cancer.”
Couric joins Pro Football Hall of Famer and longtime Your Cancer Game Plan spokesperson Jim Kelly in an effort to generate stories from people impacted by cancer. As part of the program, Kelly wrote his own letter about his battle with head and neck cancer. Part of his letter reads:
“Today, you begin a long battle with cancer. You will beat it – but it will return not once, but twice. You will doubt your ability to stay tough. Don’t give up. It will not be easy, and it will not be fun, but you will get through it.”
About Your Cancer Game Plan
Your Cancer Game Plan is a national awareness effort to help people with cancer and their loved ones take an active role in developing a “game plan” to support the emotional, health and communication challenges of living with cancer.
Cancer survivors including Pro Football Hall of Famer and head and neck cancer survivor Jim Kelly and lung cancer survivor and patient advocate Taylor Bell Duck joined Your Cancer Game Plan in 2017 and 2018, respectively, to share their stories and tools to help others affected by cancer.
The “Make Your Own Game Plan” feature allows people with cancer and their loved ones to explore the program’s resources most relevant to their personal experience with cancer, including videos from cancer survivors, communication tips, coping strategies, and health and nutritional information. Your Cancer Game Plan is a partnership between Merck and the cancer advocacy community. To learn more, visit www.YourCancerGamePlan.com.