Empowering Young Adult Cancer Survivors Through Adventure: Project Koru With Beth Peck

Project Koru is a nonprofit organization that seeks to enrich the lives of young adult cancer survivors through outdoor and adventure-based community experiences. At the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago, Beth Peck, the organization’s Executive Director, sat down with Oncology Data Advisor to talk about its mission and the excitement of sharing the ASCO experience with others who have a common goal.

This podcast episode was recorded live at the 2022 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago by Oncology Data Advisor and ConveyMed. 

Oncology Data Advisor: Welcome to Oncology Data Advisor. I’m Keira Smith. Today, I’m here at the ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago, speaking with Beth Peck from Project Koru. Thank you so much for joining us here.

Beth Peck: Thanks for having me.

Oncology Data Advisor: Tell us about Project Koru. What do you do?

Ms. Peck: Project Koru is really in the realm of survivorship. We serve young adult cancer survivors who are between the ages 19 to 39, once they’re done with their treatment and they’ve gone through the chemotherapy and the radiation. I’m a survivor myself, so I have this experience firsthand. Once you’re finished with that, and all the wonderful oncologists that are here tell you that you can move on with your life, that’s when it really hits, and you really start processing of all the trauma that you’ve recently gone through.

That’s really where we step in. We bring groups of young adult cancer survivors together. A lot of times, it’s the first time they’ve ever met anybody their own age that’s gone through what they’ve gone through. We utilize the outdoors as an adventure, as a way to empower young adult cancer survivors to move beyond a cancer diagnosis.

Oncology Data Advisor: That sounds really exciting. Tell us about your experience here at ASCO. What is Project Koru doing here?

Ms. Peck: It’s my first time here—I can’t believe how big it is, this is amazing! I’ve met so many wonderful people. It’s so refreshing to see such a large venue host this many people that care about exactly what we care about at Project Koru. Everybody’s in this for the same reason and that’s to cure cancer, to eradicate cancer, to support people that have cancer, and to support people that are recovering from cancer, it’s great. It’s such a great conference; I’ll definitely be back.

Oncology Data Advisor: Definitely. What would you say is the one thing you would like people attending ASCO to know about Projects Koru and how ASCO fits into your mission, as well?

Ms. Peck: Absolutely. I would just say the importance of survivorship. It’s lacking a lot of research and resources, and it’s something that extends far beyond cancer treatment alone. I was just explaining this to one of your colleagues—once you’re a survivor, you’re a survivor for the rest of your life. There are lots of things that come along with that, so it’s nice to be able to have organizations like Project Koru that are there to step in after all the medical treatment is done and that are there to support these cancer survivors for the rest of their lives.

Oncology Data Advisor: Absolutely. It sounds like a lot of really amazing work. Anything else you’d like to share about your experience here?

Ms. Peck: I just think that having such a wide variety of representation here—from oncologists to pharmaceutical companies, to biotech companies, everybody that’s here—it’s really great to see. Everybody has their own piece in this puzzle that is trying to eradicate cancer, and it’s great to see such a diverse representation here. From the small nonprofits to the really big pharma companies, we’re all working together.

Oncology Data Advisor: Yes, it’s definitely very exciting. Thanks for talking with us about this.

Ms. Peck: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely.

Thank you for listening to this podcast recorded live at the 2022 ASCO annual meeting by Oncology Data Advisor and ConveyMed. For more expert perspectives on the latest in cancer research and treatment, be sure to subscribe to the podcast at conveymed.io and oncdata.com. Don’t forget to follow us on social media for news, exclusive interviews, and more.

About Ms. Peck

Beth Peck is the Executive Director of Project Koru, an organization which seeks to enrich the lives of young adult cancer survivors through community and the outdoors. As a survivor of stage III triple-negative breast cancer, Beth attended Camp Koru in 2016 and later brought her experiences in nonprofit leadership and fundraising to the organization.

For More Information

Project Koru (2022). Available at: https://www.projectkoru.org/

Transcript edited for clarity. Any views expressed above are the speaker’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Oncology Data Advisor. 

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