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How To Find A Person In A Similar Situation (A Buddy)


A buddy is another person that has a similar diagnosis, health history, age, sex, education, and/or financial situation. The concept of a buddy is based in the old saying that "no one knows how you feel except someone who walks in your shoes" 

A buddy does not have to live in the same area you do. The key is to be able to make contact with the person on a regular basis, when you want to. Contact can occur in person, on the telephone, and/or over the internet.

The advantages of a buddy are:

  • You have someone to talk with to share your feelings.
  • The person understands what you are going through.
  • To share practical information.
  • To make things less scary.
  • You get to feel good because you help your buddy.

Before you start your search for a buddy, consider making a list of the aspects you want to find in another person. For example, the same disease and stage and perhaps age. Survivorship A to Z provides a Prioritizer that lets you list your criteria. With the push of a button, the Prioritizer reorders your criteria according to your priorities.

Methods for locating another person in a similar situation include the following. It is advisable to keep looking until you find a match that is good for you.

  • Call your national or local, disease specific, non-profit organization.
  • Ask your doctor's office manager.
  • Ask a social worker at the hospital at which you receive treatment.
  • Ask people in your support group or self help group, and the organization that sponsors the group.
  • Consider patient-matching services. These services are free. They ask for specific details of your disease, age, sex and lifestyle. For example:
  • In your favorite search engine, type in the name of your disease in quotes, a plus sign, and words such as "patient to patient", "patient network" or "listserv".  For example: "XYZ disease" + "patient network". 


  • Keep in mind that each individual is different.  Just because another person has the same disease and stage you do, does not mean that the appropriate medical care is the same. Whatever you learn about medical information from another person, keep in mind that the information may be good for that person but not for you, or may even be inaccurate. Check all health related information with your doctor before acting on it.
  • If the service you use has lists instead of a person or system to make a match for you, do not be surprised if you receive a large number of e mails from potential buddies.

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