Mountain view Photo by Stephen Cook on Unsplash
Mountain view Photo by Stephen Cook on Unsplash

Meaning & Purpose

Having a sense of purpose in life is being able to find meaning in the things that happen to you.

Looking off into the distance

Jasmine was 16 years old when her whole life changed: she had been diagnosed with Fanconi anemia, a serious and rare disease that impairs bone marrow function. Before her diagnosis, Jasmine, now 28, says, “I had a direction that I wanted to go. I wanted to go into the medical field, and I wanted to do a lot. But when I found out that my whole life would be at the hospital...my direction completely changed.”

At the time she was diagnosed, “They told us the average life expectancy was 22. So I told myself, ‘All right. Med school is not in that time frame, so let’s go forward and do something else.’”

Jasmine’s story is common among young survivors. A serious illness is a time of disruption in your life, in which your hopes, beliefs, and expectations in life are challenged. During this time, you can give yourself permission to reframe what matters to you and what you believe in. 

Finding meaning and purpose builds resilience, helps regulate emotions, and creates a psychological buffer against the challenges of daily life. Jasmine has navigated some difficult times in her life, yet maintains a strong sense of meaning and purpose.

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Meaning and Purpose in Survivorship
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