Losing a mother is a defining moment for anyone. But when you’re a 16-year-old boy who’s seen his single mother succumb to breast cancer, the pain is acute. That was Nick Arquette’s experience. For years afterwards, Arquette found himself dealing with disbelief, shock, anger—even guilt.
Realizing he could have used someone to talk to when he was an isolated teen, Arquette decided to launch a mentor program, Walk with Sally— named after his mother. He wanted to transform his loss into something positive and that would help other children confront the complex emotions that arise when your mother or father is seriously ill.
Walk with Sally matches children of parents with cancer with qualified adults who have “walked in the same shoes”. The program is committed to providing healing and hope to children—giving them an emotionally safe environment to share their experience. “Just talking to someone who has gone through the terrible process that these kids are experiencing can be enormously helpful,” Arquette says.
He adds, “I chose this as my project in a Landmark course. It gave me permission to say, ‘What if?’ I realized I didn’t have to be ‘Nick the boy who lost his mom to cancer at 16’ anymore. I saw the opportunity to use my experience to change the lives of children whose parents have cancer.”