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Got a story to tell about cancer?

New American Cancer Society video site asks Natives to share cancer stories

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Stories of inspiration and hope. Stories of struggle, triumph and courage. Stories of lives interrupted by cancer. These are the stories you'll find on SharingHope.tv, the new American Cancer Society online community.

And more American Indian voices are needed - to inspire others and to give them hope.

A new video Web site is capturing the national conversation on cancer. It's for anyone who wants to learn more about the journey of cancer through a survivor's eyes. The name of the site speaks for itself.

It's the first site of its kind from the society in which content is created by users - a place where survivors, their friends and family, and anyone who is simply curious about the disease can find out how people are dealing with cancer.

''We're looking for people to share their stories of life with cancer,'' said David Neff, ACS creator of the site. ''SharingHope gives survivors a new way to share their stories through the power of video.''

What makes this so unique is that you can share your story in visual format - in videos, photos, art and even music - to tell the world about your experience with cancer.

Another cool feature on the site: Musicians from around the world have provided free music to use in mixing your own videos. And if you want to tell your story in song, this is the place to do it.

Visitors also network with others who are going through the journey.

It even gives people the opportunity to rate videos and post comments. They can download their stories and link to other Web pages and blogs.

And if you're not tech-savvy? The site provides simple directions via ''help'' videos that explain how to post videos.

While hoping for widespread participation, the society is particularly interested in Native stories.

''Storytelling is part of the Native American culture, and we need more Native survivor stories on this site,'' Neff said. ''If you share your story, it may inspire someone else, and then they may share their story, and so on, and we can all draw strength from each other. This is a survivor community; it's authentic people with a common bond: Cancer cannot beat me.''

The ACS wants to feature these real stories to find out the needs and gaps people might be experiencing, since Natives have a significantly lower survival rate than other patients.

The statistics are sobering: 1 in 3 people will develop cancer in their lifetime. But the site is about more than the numbers. It's about the stories behind the statistics: The people fighting cancer every day, and winning.

''It's about focusing on the journey toward wellness,'' Neff said, ''and the power to triumph over cancer ... to celebrate the gift of each day ... and the power to say 'I'm still here.'''

For cancer information anytime, call (800) 227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org or www.sharinghope.tv. For information on this article, e-mail charlotte.hofer@cancer.org.