Member Spotlights feature interviews with fellow Connect members. Learn more about members you’ve connected with and some you haven’t met yet. Nominate a member you think should share the spotlight.
JOHN: Maureen, What brought you to Mayo Clinic Connect?
@alpaca: I help lead a head and neck cancer support network in New Zealand. One of our members is Dr. David Grayson of North Shore Hospital, where his innovation department has many links to Mayo Clinic. He introduced me to Colleen Young, Connect community director.
JOHN: What motivates you to take part in the community?
@alpaca: I'm a firm believer in online support, and I knew that I would learn from Mayo Clinic Connect and might be able to help others with head and neck cancer at the same time. I have been a member of other U.S. support groups over the years.
JOHN: What about Connect makes you feel comfortable to share and to be open with the community
@alpaca: The fact that Colleen and others moderate and lead the group so well makes me feel comfortable, as well as the excellent worldwide reputation of Mayo Clinic.
JOHN: What groups do you participate in?
JOHN: Who has been a special connection for you on Connect?
@alpaca: I can't name any one person, but some of the other volunteer mentors and early members of the Head and Neck Cancer group have been superb. We share so many common factors in our cancers.
JOHN: What surprised you the most about Connect?
@alpaca: I’ve been surprised by the way I have slowly been drawn into other groups where symptoms and feelings overlap with head and neck cancer. I really like that overlap.
JOHN: What energizes you, or how do you find balance in your life?
@alpaca: I'm energized by my full-on enthusiasm for life: a life I am lucky to be holding onto. Family and grandchildren, walking and fitness, books, good journalism, current affairs and my New Zealand support network, which gives me the utter privilege of being able to help others and gives my life extra meaning and purpose, all energize me and help bring balance in my life.
JOHN: Do you have a favorite quote, life motto or personal mantra?
@alpaca: "The unexamined life is not worth living."
JOHN: What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
@alpaca: I appreciate a mental kinship, common interests, humor and kindness.
JOHN: What food can you simply not resist?
@alpaca: I simply cannot resist ice cream with chocolate on top.
JOHN: If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you like to see cast as you
@alpaca: Millie Bobby Brown
JOHN: What do you love about where you live or vacation?
@alpaca: I love the beaches, the curve of the bay, the island-dotted horizon patches of native forest walkways and tracks.
JOHN: Puppies or kittens?