Say hello to the newest Localife leaders!

May 24, 2016


We are very happy to announce YACC’s newest Localife leaders! Each city has at least one new face and, while they all have large shoes to fill, we know they will continue to provide an amazing program to all of our young adult cancer patients/survivors in each of our Localife cities.

Read below to find out more about your newest leaders, and please join us one more time in thanking our outgoing leaders: Bernie, Lisa, Dan, Kevin, Bonnie, Peter, Chris, and Stacey; you have helped us change the world and for that we are ever grateful.



My name is Matthew Miller, and I am extremely excited to be one of the Localife leaders here in Calgary!

I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 22. As most of you can contest to, it has been — and may very well be — the most difficult experience of my entire life. However, through it I have gained a perspective that I’m blessed to have, and it has helped me gauge what’s important in life, and what I want out of my life.

I love most things outdoors, even though I don’t partake in such activities nearly as often as I want to. Music is a huge passion of mine, and I’ve been teaching piano lessons for several years now. I’m currently enrolled at the University of Calgary, and I hope to graduate sometime within the next millennium. Cancer kind of throws a wrench into what you’re up to, but I love learning, so I could be a student forever and I would not mind at all.

What I hope to bring to Localife is an environment of warmth, community, and fun. To create a space in which everyone is able to fully express themselves, regardless of the circumstances, and that we can all enjoy each other’s company. Good connection and great conversation give depth to our everyday lives, and to have connections with others who simply “get it” is priceless. I am incredibly excited to connect with all of you, and to have a great time doing awesome things!



Hello! My name is Pamela Porter. I am a teacher who loves to read, play volleyball, cuddle my dog, travel, spend time with friends and family, and volunteer. I am also a Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer survivor.

In the spring of  2103, I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 29. After completing my chemotherapy and taking some time to recover, I took a year off of work to travel and volunteer around the world.  In May 2015, I came back to Edmonton refreshed and ready to go back to work as a junior high school teacher.

Now, I am happy to be accepting one of the Localife leader positions in Edmonton so I can be a resource and mentor to other young adults affected by cancer. I hope to plan events that will encourage us to be a supportive community and reduce the sense of isolation brought on by cancer. I look forward to meeting you and hearing your ideas about how we can improve our program!



Hello current and future YACCers! Cancer is a three-letter word for me: GBM, a Grade IV brain cancer. As a 26-year old teacher living in Ottawa, I certainly didn’t appreciate my body’s decision to mess with my head, in the most literal sense. Though never an easy task, dealing with the challenges became less overwhelming due in part to connecting to Ottawa Localife and attending several national YACC events such as the Retreat Yourself (2013) and Survivor Conference (2014) in Ontario, and Retreat Yourself Adventure (2015) in Newfoundland. The YACC community has proven invaluable to the development of my positive life outlook, despite the [expletive] cancer. I am very proud to give back in my role as Ottawa Localife leader alongside the fabulous Meghan Dutton.


St. John’s

My name is Jody Mason; I’m 38-years-old and living with metastatic colon cancer since 2011. I enjoy sports, movies, cooking, comic books, and anything pop culture related. I began my involvement with YACC after my first remission back in 2013 and have helped, and spoken at, numerous events sharing my story and letting people know that you are not your diagnosis.

As part of the St. John’s Localife leader team, I hope to help bring a new, fun-filled attitude to an already fun and entertaining group. I am energetic (when I can be), creative, and an overall fun guy. I want to bring the current and future YACCers together to let them all know that even though Newfoundland is a small place, you aren’t alone in your fight! We are here to help you get out and socialize with other survivors and people living with cancer like myself.



I was diagnosed with stage 3A Adenocarcinoma of the lung in 2009 at the age of 30. I had just started my career as an educator and essentially had to put everything on hold. The one thing that struck me during treatment was that I was always the youngest person in the room. I was desperate to find someone like me because even though my support system was incredible, I felt alone and completely isolated. That was when I sought out YACC.

I attended my first conference in the beautiful province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and knew I had found my tribe. In 2011, I had a recurrence and became a “lifer”; it was my fellow YACCers who helped me get through the initial shock and challenges. It was comforting knowing I had friend who really got it. I feel truly honoured to be chosen as the new Localife leader for Toronto and can’t wait to meet and connect with everyone.

Hey Toronto! I’m a 26-year old Emergency Department Social Worker born and raised in Newfoundland, currently seeking out anything that smells like the ocean in this city.  When I was 19, I was diagnosed with a type of tumour called Chordoma. It was sitting on my brain stem, which was really inconvenient. I was introduced to YACC shortly after I finished treatment, and I’ve been involved in one way or another ever since. I’m super excited to be able to jump into this role as one of your Localife Leaders.

Some of my happiest moments are when I’m with my dogs and my supportive partner, hiking, at the beach, eating, and laughing. Let’s see if we can incorporate some of these things into our events.

Looking forward to having all the fun with you!



I was diagnosed with Stage 3B colon cancer at the age of 30 while starting to build my career as a film maker and raise my 18-month-old daughter. I went through six months of chemotherapy and several operations to come out on the other side as “in remission.” What I wasn’t expecting was the emotional trauma that came with the whole experience.  About a year after treatment, I sought out help and found YACC! After my first Retreat Yourself in BC in 2014, my life changed drastically — but definitely for the better.

I have always wanted to give back to the community that welcomed me with open arms and I am ecstatic to be brought in as one of the Vancouver Localife Leaders. I can’t wait to meet and connect with more young adults and I look forward to making many new friends!

I was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia in 2002 at the age of 24. After treatment, getting back to “normal” was not easy because I did not know what that was anymore. Once I was feeling like myself again — eight years later — I had a relapse. I was about to begin my undergrad for Therapeutic Recreation at the time, talk about unfortunate timing!

I found YACC soon after that, and I am grateful for it. I attended my first Retreat Yourself in 2013 along with my husband, who has been my biggest supporter. I have also been to the Survivor Conference in 2014, and returned to Retreat Yourself in 2016 as a peer supporter. I am grateful for the support of YACC. It is unfortunate to see the amount of young adults living with cancer, but the support of this community is overwhelmingly great!

It is an honour to give back to this community. It would be my absolute pleasure to provide the same support that I have received. I look forward to connect and spend time with other young adults in the Vancouver area.



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