When a young woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, she may feel completely alone and as though she’s the only woman under 40 to ever receive such terrible news. The unfortunate reality is there are more than a quarter of a million young women living in the U.S. today who were diagnosed with breast cancer before their 41st birthday. And, YSC is here for all of them. It is our intention to make sure that no young woman feels alone as she navigates the various phases of her survivorship.
Because YSC is a national organization that has staff, volunteers, donors, and partners all over the country, my job as CEO entails a great deal of travel. I cannot effectively lead YSC from behind my desk. So, I take advantage of every opportunity to get to know people in person.
I truly value the feedback I receive from the young women we exist to serve. This year, my priority is to meet as many members of the “YSC family” as humanly possible. Some of the things I’d like to know are: Who they are (personalities)? What do they need? What they’re going through (as individuals)?
Therefore, starting in March, every time I travel to a different city I will host a face to face meeting with YSC survivors in the area whenever possible, creating what I now refer to as my “CEO F2Fs” of 2012.
Thus far, I’ve met with the spectacular women of Seattle, where I enjoyed an entertaining evening listening to their individual stories, experiences supporting one another and efforts to connect with other young survivors new to the area. Next, I had a small gathering with amazing volunteers in Houston who help to raise funds for YSC through their dedication to our mission. After that was a wonderful conversation with our outstanding ladies in Phoenix, where we brainstormed fun and creative activities young women affected by breast cancer can do together, as well as new ways to support one other. Most recently, I was in Chicago, where I appreciated meeting that affiliate’s magnificent volunteer leaders and survivors new to YSC living in the Chicago area.
There is no agenda for these get-togethers. Their sole purpose is for me to get to know the women we serve, hear their stories and obtain their feedback on how YSC can better support our existing constituents, as well as expand our reach so more young survivors know YSC is here to help them with comprehensive resources, support and educational materials. I also hope that, after speaking with me, the women in YSC’s family across the country will feel confident that I’m dedicated to fulfilling YSC mission and raising awareness that young women can and do get breast cancer.
Anyone can read on YSC’s web site that I am a young woman diagnosed with breast cancer, actively in treatment, that I feel like YSC saved me when I was diagnosed less than two years ago, or that I’m still actively involved in my YSC community in NYC. But, I know reading about someone isn’t enough … you need to meet face to face (or F2F) to truly get to know another person.