At our monthly team meetings, one of our crew members discusses some of our five values: strength, courage, commitment, heart, and spark. This is Lesley’s reflection from this month’s meeting.
Young Adult Cancer Canada (YACC) was formed and driven by a trailblazer named Geoff Eaton. Based on his own experiences, Geoff knew there was no trail in place for young adults dealing with cancer in Canada, so he took out the brush cutter, bulldozer, and grader to start forming a highway for young adults to connect.
In 2013, we brought on three new “road builders” to help us construct new connections and find more young adults across the country with our YACCtivist program. Now in 2019, we have brought on a new “road crew” of 15 YACCtivists who are going to help us grow our young adult highway and bring more of their peers out of isolation.
I was lucky enough to be present and involved in the training of these new recruits in August. My mind was constantly blown away by these individuals. Their personalities were very different, but their shared desire to change the lives of their young adult cancer brothers and sisters was incredible to watch. They became fast friends, each with their own story, their own personalities, strengths, and reasons for being in Toronto on this eventful weekend.
Many words came to my mind throughout training: driven, reflective, organized, fire, insightful, soft, engaging, empowered, respectful, willing, resilience, determination, solidarity, and many more.
Each of these individuals are just that — individuals. They are of different genders, different ages, and from different provinces and cultures. They have varied home lives, interests, and pursuits, but their drive, determination, and collective goal is the same: they want to change the lives of young adults facing cancer in this country.
How they go about making this change will also differ. Some will publish articles, some will blog/vlog, others will meet with health professionals and join working groups. Others will fundraise, participate in speaking engagements, and make one-on-one connections with other young adults.
There are other YACCers out there who are — and have been — doing all of these things for years, and we appreciate all of their efforts.
Together with our YACCers and YACCtivists, I know we will blaze a trail to reach even more young adults who are dealing with cancer in isolation. We will build the road to reach them, and in doing so, we will change their lives.
I am so privileged to be a part of this movement.