On September 3, 2008, I received an email from a young adult survivor who was still in treatment. Not an unusual occurrence for me, but despite treatment, this guy was making plans for an expedition that would see young adult survivors tackle an eight-day kayaking expedition. And he wanted to film it to make a documentary about the unique issues facing young adults with cancer. His name was Mikey Lang, and I thought he had an awesome idea!
Over the next few months we stayed in touch. Mikey and his wife, Bonnie, came to the 2008 Survivor Conference in Alberta and we gave them a chance to pitch the expedition to our Conference attendees. Our conversations continued, and there was a formal request for major funding from YACC, which we were unable to provide at that time. It didn’t stop him. In 2009, he established the non-profit Survive and Thrive Expeditions and, along with many survivors from the 2008 Conference, he and Bonnie delivered their first expedition.
They brought their cameras and Wrong Way to Hope will be released later this year.
Throughout the fall of last year, Mikey and I were in constant communication as he worked on the film and his business plan for Survive and Thrive. We had a great chat at the 2009 Survivor Conference and I think it was a huge step down the path we are following today.
We had another chat before the holidays and I explained that although YACC doesn’t have the major funding he was looking for to help finish the film and take on even more expeditions in 2010, we do have other assets that can support our collective vision to help young adults with cancer. The Shave for the Brave is YACC’s highest profile and most successful fundraiser, and I thought the cowboys and cowgirls in Alberta would love it.
Mikey agreed to join the YACC team and deliver the Shave for the Brave in Alberta. The details of our partnership will take shape over the coming weeks and months. I know YACC has found a partner that will help bring our organization to the next level, raising more awareness, more funds, and of course helping more young adults with cancer across our country.
YACC’s two strategic goals are to be national and sustainable. The first goal speaks to presence, influence, and impact. The second is about how we attain and sustain that presence, influence, and impact. For me, the development of sustainable partnerships will be one of the key determinants of our success in the long run.
I define a sustainable partnership as one in which everyone feels like they are winning, and that is definitely the case for YACC here.
Live life. Love life.