How can you help a young adult charity? Race a car

May 5, 2011

Photo by Jeff Tooth

Jeff Tooth contacted us a couple of months ago and offered to help spread the word about YACC and the issues young adults with cancer are facing in Canada. He has a 23-year old daughter, Sarah, who has been battling cancer for two years. Through his family’s experiences, he has seen first-hand how Canada is lacking adequate services to care for young adult cancer patients.

Sarah’s cancer is typically found in people under the age of five. She said, “The Alberta Children’s Hospital here in Calgary is actually one of the best centres available for neuroblastoma, but they needed special permission to be able to treat me. We couldn’t get that permission initially, and when we did we only had it for a year. The staff, facilities, and level of care were fantastic, and I wish I’d been allowed to stay.

“Since leaving the Children’s, my care has been coordinated between the Tom Baker, the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, and MD Anderson, since no single hospital had both the experience and the facilities for the therapy we decided on.”

“Like many young people in similar circumstances, we have found that gaps exist in diagnosis, treatment, and care for young adults. I would like to do something to raise awareness,” said Jeff.

So, he bought a Mitsubishi rally car, wrapped it with a YACC decal, and plans on entering road races and visiting hospitals to spread awareness of our programs and opportunities for young adults. Lucky patients may even have the opportunity to drive the car and have a little fun during the car’s hospital visits because, “when you have cancer, sometimes life kind of stinks,” says Jeff.

He hopes the excitement, and cool-factor associated with auto racing will encourage people to learn more about the issues young adults with cancer face, and what’s available for them—like YACC and our programs.

We offer Retreat Yourself for a chance to recharge and connect with other young adult survivors, the annual Survivor Conference to learn how to make the most of your life after cancer, Goaltender to stay on track, We Get It to show just how much we “get it,” Survive & Thrive Expeditions to take you outside of your element and challenge you to do something new, Localife (currently piloting in Calgary) to provide low-key opportunities for survivors to connect, and a web community that’s available 24/7 to provide information and resources.

We can’t thank the Tooth family enough for the gusto with which they are demonstrating to make sure more Canadians know how hard it is for young adults when they get cancer.