“Even if we could raise $1M I wouldn’t want to put that in a $100M pot for cancer research. I know we can change more lives using it for support.”
That thought guided my intentions in the earliest days of YACC, before we had raised a dime, or were incorporated, even. Back then I thought about “even if” we could raise a million. It seemed so far away. Not that I felt it was unattainable, it was just a long way away from the ~$40K we raised in 2000-2001, our first year of operation.
We hosted our first “YACC to the Future” event this morning to report on the awesome 2011-12 year of YACC, which included hitting the $1M mark in revenue—a nice milestone to add to our collection. I hope you enjoyed that moment of reflection, because it was enough for me!
As you would expect, we adjusted our sights as YACC grew. Today, we also shared some of our vision for the future. Here are a few captions from my speech this morning:
What’s driving our vision:
1. Demand – Demand for face-face programs is up even as we increase capacity.
2. Deficit – There is a massive deficit of resources focused on YA’s across the cancer continuum—no research agenda (0.08 per cent of cancer research focused on YA’s), no local support (five local groups in the country), and no national infrastructure like in the pediatric and adult health systems. In fact, we are 10 per cent of the patients in each system, which means we are the focus of no one.
3. Desire – Our collective desire to make change happen—one life at a time at the individual level, and within the provincial, national, and international cancer systems.
Our board-developed strategic plan guides YACC’s operations through to 2016. These five points are a few of the highlights and major areas of focus for us going forward today:
1. Increase program capacity to meet growing demand
2. Increase revenue by 400 per cent by 2016 to $4.4M. This is the most ambitious part of our plan. I do not doubt we will reach this $4.4M revenue mark; the timing may vary from our plan, but the clear assertion we are making is that growth is a priority as there can be no expansion of programs without it.
3. Excellence – Operationally, systems, performance management, and progressive culture are some of the key areas for development. My ultimate goal when starting YACC was to build something that would be around long after I was, that goal still drives me.
4. Partners – We would not be here without them. We will continue to nurture our great partnerships, cultivate new partnerships across the spectrum of our operation, from program delivery, to fund development and awareness. They are an essential element of our plan moving forward.
5. Research – YACC is uniquely positioned, because of the reach of our existing programs and network in Canada, to generate knowledge that will benefit generations of young adults dealing with cancer in Canada and all over the world.
I speak of dreams all the time and how important they are. I believe this in my core. YACC has a great dream and we’re going to have a great time chasing it!
Live life. Love life.