First Descents: The Therapeutic Effects of Adventure

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Even after recovery, cancer can still leave challenging effects on those who have experienced it. However, taking part in a new adventure can be beneficial and healing for cancer survivors. First Descents is a program for young adults impacted by cancer that provides them with outdoor adventures and helps them heal through psychosocial support and rewarding experiences.

Life on Pause is a podcast created by and for young adults living with cancer. Within this episode, our hosts chat with guest speaker Mackenzie McGrath, Vice President of First Descents, about the program and its therapeutic effects on young adults influenced by cancer.

Listen to our hosts and special guest Mackenzie discuss the First Descents program:

Guest Introduction (0:30)

Our host Gus introduces the topic of this episode, and our special guest speaker, Mackenzie McGrath. Mackenzie is the Vice President of First Descents, a program that provides outdoor adventures for young adults impacted by cancer and other serious health conditions.

First Descents (1:30)

Mackenzie tells listeners about the First Descents program and inspiration behind its development. She and host Gus share their experiences traveling, meeting other young adults, and having new experiences during their First Descents trips.

Healing Effects (8:50)

Experiencing the great outdoors can have therapeutic effects for individuals impacted by cancer, and Mackenzie speaks about the benefits of setting the program within nature. She also discusses how the program supports young adults, providing developmentally appropriate psychosocial support and peer-to-peer connection for cancer survivors within this demographic.

Designed for Positive Opportunity (12:15)

The hosts and Mackenzie speak more on the program and its trained staff members and how attention to aspects like safety, outdoor activity, and nutrition education makes it a safe and positive experience for attendees.

Confidence and Body Positivity (18:15)

The cancer journey can leave people feeling physically fragile and limited. First Descents is designed to produce psychosocial outcomes, with outdoor adventures that strengthen attendees' body image and physical confidence. Our speakers share their thoughts on the program's psychosocial aspects and how they can benefit former cancer patients.

Safe Havens (23:14)

Cancer can have lasting mental and emotional effects on those who have had it, even after treatment ends. Our hosts and Mackenzie share their havens and practices for reaching inner peace and the activities that they find therapeutic.

New Perspectives (26:46)

Sometimes in life, we find ourselves in situations that can open our eyes to new perspectives. Mackenzie and our hosts share their moments that provided new perspectives on life and the cancer experience.

Challenges and Rewards (37:56)

Challenging oneself and stepping out of comfort zones can be difficult but rewarding. Our speakers discuss examples of being rewarded through challenges and how the First Descents outdoor adventures motivate people to take on new experiences.

38 episodes