Resources for Those with Cancer & Student Loan Debt

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If you have seen the news recently, you know that student loan debt in the United States is at an all-time high. It currently totals over $1 trillion, more than 6% of the overall national debt. With this high level of student loans, the delinquency rate has risen too, from 7.55 percent in 2008 to 10.9 percent in 2013. This is the national trend, and people with cancer often face additional challenges in paying off student debt— for example, if they have to postpone finishing a degree or if they can’t work right away because of treatment.While there is no magic answer, information about how to deal with student loans can help. The nonprofit American Student Assistance recently released a comprehensive guide to student loan forgiveness and discharge. The section on Medical Debt is especially helpful for people with cancer facing student loan debt. Download it here. The National Consumer Law Center also provides information with its Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project: http://www.studentloanborrowerassistance.org/.

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About Heather Swift

Heather “Swifty” Swift has been Kicking mAss since 1998. At 28 she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer as a recently single mom with two small babies on her hip. After completing treatment with the thought that cancer was in her rear view mirror she worked, locally, as a volunteer for Ithaca Breast Cancer Alliance doing community outreach to be certain that no one faced cancer alone. In 2005, she had a secondary diagnosis of breast cancer and tested positive for the BRCA2 mutation, which only amped up her commitment to creating positive change and to becoming a strong and effective advocate for the young adult cancer community. Now, at age 42, Swifty, her partner, Brian, and her two teenage children work together locally, nationally and internationally to advocate for change. Swifty regularly meets with legislators to work towards tangible change in health care, legislation that addresses the needs of cancer patients, care-partners, and families. She works directly with clinicians, medical/nursing students, youth & college students, cancer support organizations and others to educate them about the special needs of young adults living with a cancer diagnosis. Swifty is passionate about providing support by connecting people living with cancer to resources, to other cancer survivors, and to mobilizing and training individuals and groups to find their inner advocate. Swifty currently works with a number of amazing, hand-selected organizations, which provide her with opportunities to educate, to advocate, and to change the conversation about cancer and to work to bring an end to the disease. A few include: LiveSTRONG, mAss Kickers, Imerman Angels, National Breast Cancer Coalition, Cancer Resource Center of the Finger Lakes, Dusty Showers & The Second Basemen, and Stupid Cancer. Swifty is an oncology nursing student in upstate New York, loves time with her family, paddling sports, and peanut butter. She is a Virgo, but not the really anal-retentive type. Her strange fascination with superheroes makes her popular in geek circles, but it can be endearing. Swifty will be riding a llama across Oregon in July of 2012 and really does believe we can achieve and end to cancer and in world peace. Motto: Never Give Up! Favorite quote: “Our own life has to be our message.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh

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