LIVESTRONG Leader Aims to Improve Life of Cancer Patients
Rafael Matos recently completed his Doctorate in Psychology, during which time he studied social and behavioral elements that affect the guilt felt by someone after surviving a traumatic event. In his self-imposed post-doctoral studies he hopes to find a parallel to soldiers demonstrating symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after coming back from war and the feelings of guilt for being alive that some cancer patients experience.
“I think we can learn a lot from what has been done with our military members and the experiences they had, and compare them to the behaviors of cancer survivors,” Rafael Matos said. “There are resources for psychological evaluation and treatment that are very similar. Some of these resources could be allocated to assist cancer survivors who exhibit similar behaviors to those of military members with PTSD. I would like to build a coalition that would explore these connections, and implement a program that can be used to support cancer survivors experiencing survivor guilt worldwide”
Even though there is still much that needs to be evaluated and implemented to improve the lives of people affected by cancer, Rafael believes that serving as a LIVESTRONG Leader allows him to assist and influence the establishment of programs for a better health of cancer patients. Rafael has served as a LIVESTRONG Leader for two years after being introduced to it in 2012 by a close friend. Having lost his grandfather to cancer at an early age and after having seen other family members and friends battling cancer, Rafael knew he wanted to be a part of the support system that assists patients to live productive lives.
“The best thing about being a LIVESTRONG leader is having the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives, one person at a time,” Rafael said. “I have access to tremendous resources that I can make available to improve the lives of individuals from the moment of cancer diagnosis, through treatment and post treatment activities. It is very rewarding to see any one of these individuals living life full. I celebrate my own life every time I see them helped”.
Through LIVESTRONG Rafael met Bryan McMillan, also a LIVESTRONG Leader and team captain of Team BootySTRONG for 24 Foundation Columbia. The meeting led him to participate in his first 24 Foundation last year.