Jill Frey

 

YSC's 15 Volunteers Making a Difference

Jill Frey — Founding Member of YSC, Tour de Pink Rider

For the past 15 years, Jill has generously donated her time and energy to Young Survival Coalition (YSC), which she has been part of since its beginning. Jill cycles in the annual Tour de Pink (TdP) breast cancer bike ride, is a former board member and currently serves on YSC’s development advisory committee. As a sustaining donor and a member of YSC’s Leadership Circle, Jill supports YSC’s mission to be a strong voice for young women with breast cancer.

Jill Frey with, from left to right, her grandmother and mother.

Jill Frey with, from left to right, her grandmother and mother.

At 31, newly married and planning a family, Jill was diagnosed with breast cancer, as were her mother and maternal grandmother before her — both in their 40s. Even with the love, support and understanding of women so close to her, Jill felt alone.

After her husband Jonathon told her about a colleague’s sister, Lisa Lesko, who had been diagnosed before 40, Jill reached out to and connected with Lisa. In November 1998, they attended a support group meeting together in New York City for young women that became the catalyst for YSC.

As the idea of YSC became a reality, Jill drew on her passion and talent for fundraising to co-chair the group’s first fundraising event with fellow YSC founding member Lisa J. Frank. The event raised several thousand dollars and introduced YSC to a broader audience.

Register as a YSC Volunteer

By 1999, it became clear that YSC needed a brand identity, so Jill collaborated with a graphic designer to create YSC’s original logo. Later that year she helped to secure YSC’s first corporate sponsor, the hair products company Goldwell, which funded YSC’s first brochure, “Just Because You’re a Young Woman, Doesn’t Mean Breast Cancer Can’t Happen to You.”

With these new materials in hand to help explain the uniqueness and scope of issues faced by young survivors, the women of YSC headed to Washington D.C. Led by co-founder and breast cancer advocate Joy Simha, they made YSC’s first connections with members of Congress and leaders in the breast cancer world.

Jill at the 2012 Tour de Pink East Coast.

Jill at the 2012 Tour de Pink East Coast.

In 2006, Jill took her volunteering to a new level by signing up for TdP. Unsure about being able to cover the distance of the three-day ride, Jill trained hard and conquered every mile. Ever since, she rides each year to raise money for young women fighting breast cancer — like her sister Judy, who was originally diagnosed 10 years ago and is now battling metastatic breast cancer. Jill believes, “It is important to be excited about your role as a volunteer. That excitement will keep you committed to the organization and helping it to grow.”

Thank you Jill for your amazing contributions over the past 15 years and for your continued dedication to the mission and vitality of the organization you helped start!

 

Comment (1)

Join Katy Perry & Friends in Supporting YSC

 

Katy Perry #WeCanSurvive Concert

Tomorrow, an unprecedented event will take place for Young Survival Coalition — the Katy Perry & Friends #WeCanSurvive Music for Life concert benefiting us! YSC is  touched by the incredible show of support for young women affected by breast cancer by Katy along with Sara Bareilles, Ellie Goulding, Tegan & Sara and Kacey Musgraves. Strong female artists supporting the strong women of YSC … it is going to be amazing.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and her new album, PRISM, which feature the smash single “Roar,” Katy says, “I’m so proud to be playing songs from my new record, PRISM, at the iconic Hollywood Bowl alongside a hand-picked group of my favorite female artists. It will be a night of celebrating fantastic music and life, all for a very important cause!”

A portion of the proceeds from ticket and merchandise will be donated to YSC, the sole beneficiary of #WeCanSurvive. YSC will be at the concert, with a group of young survivors, distributing our materials and raising awareness about young women and breast cancer.

The acknowledgement YSC and our cause are receiving from these spectacular artists and the event sponsors gets the word out to a huge new audience that is paramount to bringing us closer to our goal of reaching every young woman who is diagnosed with breast cancer that needs us.

So, how can you be a part of it all? Join Katy in supporting YSC
by texting “SURVIVE” to 80888 to donate $10 to YSC.*

Follow and share the excitement and pictures from tomorrow’s concert on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Our heartfelt thanks go out to  — Katy, Sara, Ellie, Tegan & Sara and Kacey as well as sponsors CBS Radio and Citi — for their incredible show of support for young women affected by breast cancer.

 

Leave a comment

Courtney Preusse

 

YSC's 15 Volunteers Making a Difference

Courtney Preusse — Breast Cancer Advocate, YSC Research Think Tank Member and Junior Researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Courtney at a YSC Seattle meeting.

Courtney at a YSC Seattle meeting.

Courtney had just moved to Seattle and accepted a new job when, at 31 years old, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. With friends and family back in D.C., over 3,000 miles away, she was alone and completely unprepared to deal with her diagnosis.

At a workshop exploring reconstruction options, the only other young survivor in the room approached Courtney. As it happens, she was involved with Young Survival Coalition’s (YSC) local Seattle group. This one connection provided a pathway to the information, encouragement and resources that Courtney so desperately sought.

At her first YSC support group meeting, Courtney met other young women who could relate to her struggles, understood this new language of cancer and made her feel comfortable enough to discuss the most intimate details of the challenges she was facing.

Register as a YSC Volunteer

At the end of her treatment, Courtney wanted to give back and be of service to others in the cancer community. She knew there was a lack of research on how breast cancer affected young women’s bodies and its long-term effects, and she wanted to change that.

When the opportunity for Courtney to work at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center came up, she took it. Though her job didn’t directly involve research, she saw it as a possible way to gain access to the researchers. Over time, Courtney began to reach out to those working on breast cancer issues and convinced them her patient’s perspective could help.

She noted that doctors often become so mired in the science and clinical results of the research, they often forget the larger issues pertaining to a patient’s quality of life. “It’s critical to incorporate the patients’ needs into all research, and I knew the more educated I was, the greater impact I would have,” stated Courtney. Courtney reached out to YSC in hopes she could create a stronger connection between YSC’s constituents nationwide and the cancer center.

Courtney at the inaugural YSC Research Think Tank meeting.

Courtney at the inaugural YSC Research Think Tank meeting.

In 2012, Courtney’s involvement with YSC expanded when she was chosen as the patient advocate chairperson for the Pregnancy and Breast Cancer working group of YSC’s Research Think Tank. The goal of this 18-month initiative is to drive real change by refocusing the research community on the tough questions that will improve the quality and length of life for young women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Courtney believes that researchers need to be reminded of the person behind the cancer, and YSC serves as a catalyst for her to do that. Whether it’s a newly diagnosed woman or someone living with metastatic disease, Courtney’s volunteer work with YSC gives them a voice.

Thank you Courtney for your persistence and determination to improve the understanding of researchers working on the science behind breast cancer and how it affects young women.

 

Leave a comment

Eileen and Dennis Ahearn

 

YSC's 15 Volunteers Making a Difference

Eileen and Dennis Ahearn — Tour de Pink Volunteers, Massage Therapist and Hospitality Manager

Eileen at YSC Tour de Pink.

Eileen at YSC Tour de Pink.

Eileen and Dennis Ahearn donate their professional skills and vacation time to YSC year after year. When asked what drives their dedication, Eileen’s response is simple, “When I see the physical and emotional impact that breast cancer has on these young women, I want to help them. It’s the least I can do.”

Eileen is a board-certified, licensed massage therapist and graduate of the Swedish Institute, College of Health Sciences, whose training includes an understanding of serious health issues along with a focus on the lymphatic system.

Having volunteered with the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) at the start of the AIDS epidemic, Eileen’s expertise encompassed the health benefits of massage and relaxation. In 2008 after working with a young woman affected by breast cancer, she decided to donate her skills at YSC’s Tour de Pink® (#YSCTdP), a three-day bike ride to benefit Young Survival Coalition (YSC).

Eileen eagerly recruited her husband Dennis, whose extensive experience in hospitality could be put to good use. The couple thought, “Our lives are really busy, and personal time is priceless, but it would be incredibly rewarding to share that time with some inspiring people.”

That fall as cyclists embarked from Hershey, Pa., to New York City, the Ahearns were there for them. Eileen set up her massage table at each rest stop assisting riders with muscle fatigue, cramps and keeping them prepared for the miles ahead.

Though Dennis’ first job along the route was as van driver, it became evident his warm and hospitable nature best served the participants alongside Eileen at the rest stop. He says, “By extending myself, I’m reminded of what is truly important in life and that giving to others can nourish my soul.”

Eileen and Dennis with one of the survivor riders at Tour de Pink East Coast.

Eileen and Dennis with a survivor rider at Tour de Pink East Coast.

Over the years, Eileen’s role has grown; she continues to provide hands-on massages while spearheading efforts to recruit additional professionals to volunteer. Working through the American Massage Therapy Association, Eileen secures massage therapists in each state the group travels through.

For five consecutive years, Eileen and Dennis have dedicated their vacation time to Tour de Pink East Coast. For them, it’s not all about what they give … it’s about what they receive! They remark, “It’s obvious how much everyone cares for each other. Tour de Pink is not a race but an experience filled with support and personal fulfillment. Every person involved is an integral piece of the puzzle.”

Thank you Eileen and Dennis for your commitment and compassion in providing encouragement to all Tour de Pink participants as they tackle the road ahead!

Register as a YSC Volunteer

 

Leave a comment

It’s We Heart a Great Fit Time Again @ Nordstrom

 

YSC is excited to partner again with Nordstrom on the “We heart a great fit” event Friday and Saturday, October 25–26. Nordstrom stores across the country will be hosting a bra fitting event, where professional fitters will be on hand to help every woman find the right bra for her, and $2 from each bra purchased during the event will be donated to YSC!

This event is all about fit and choice, two ideas that Nordstrom has been offering breast cancer survivors through its In-Store Prosthesis Program for the last 20 years. The We Heart a Great Fit program is not limited to surgical bras and garments only, it’s available for almost any bra in the Nordstrom collection both in-store or through the online event Bras for a Cause.

At Nordstrom's April 2013 We Heart a Great Fit.

At Nordstrom’s April 2013 We Heart a Great Fit.

Nordstrom’s Certified Prosthesis Fitters will help you choose a bra, and their free, expert tailoring ensures that you will leave the store with exactly what you need. Call a few friends and make an appointment together then treat yourself to something at Nordstrom Café like YSC’s Director of Marketing Jennifer Johnson did. Jennifer is one of the co-authors of Nordie’s at Noon, the personal stories of four women “too young” for breast cancer.

Full program details are available on the Nordstrom “Before Your Appointment” page. Learn more about this program and hear from real clients in this short video from Nordstrom:

Please join us in thanking Nordstrom for its generous support of YSC, along with the company’s year-round programs to provide breast cancer survivors bras that work for them. ‘

Ignite-Volunteer-Opportunity-Nordstrom

 

 

Comment (1)

The Frank Family

 

YSC's 15 Volunteers Making a Difference

The Frank Family — Parents and Brother of a YSC Founding Member and Tour de Pink Volunteers

During the early years of her daughter Lisa J. Frank’s breast cancer experience, Carol Frank recognized a particularly unfulfilled need — resources for parents struggling to support their adult daughters who had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Jerry, Lisa, Carol and Paul Frank (from left to right) at In Living Pink

Jerry, Lisa, Carol and Paul Frank (from left to right) at In Living Pink

To solicit assistance, Carol reached out to Susan Santangelo, the director of the Breast Cancer Survival Center in her home town of Norwalk, Conn. Together, they coordinated a one-day workshop, inviting mothers of survivors from the tri-state area to join them in Connecticut. There, 12 mothers confronted their fears and embraced hope for their daughters’ futures.

Register as a YSC Volunteer

Register as a YSC Volunteer

As Carol became involved with the cause, the rest of the family looked for ways they could volunteer. Knowing how much Young Survival Coalition (YSC) had done for their daughter (and sister), they knew working with YSC was the perfect way to give back! The opportunity came in 2004, when Lisa and fellow YSC volunteer Matt Purdue organized the first Tour de Pink (TdP) to generate funds and awareness for YSC.

Tapping strong local ties and large social networks, Carol and Jerry (Lisa’s dad) reached out to friends and relatives securing places for the riders to sleep and be fed along the route. From the first year until today, Carol and Jerry have remained committed to volunteering for TdP and have never missed a ride.

In 2008, Lisa’s brother Paul began volunteering adding his support as a member of the original TdP decorating squad. Over the years, the family’s presence at the East Coast ride has never faltered and in 2011, Carol received a volunteer appreciation award for her dedication to its participants.

The PB&J Queen, Carol Frank.

The PB&J Queen, Carol Frank.

These days, during TdP East Coast, you can find the Franks staffing the lunchtime rest stop together and offering encouragement and enthusiasm. As Paul checks in riders, making certain everyone is accounted for throughout the day, Carol and Jerry ensure cyclists have the nourishment to power through with Carol’s famous peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!

The Frank family knows firsthand how hearing “Your daughter has breast cancer,” affects the entire family. They believe, “It’s important to support all of the young women facing this disease in any way we can,” and say, “All of the people who take part in Tour de Pink are an extension of our family.”

Thank you to the entire Frank family for your dedication to the women of YSC and everything else you do to make a difference!

 

Comment (1)

Loretta North

 

YSC's 15 Volunteers Making a Difference Loretta North, Nurse Practitioner and YSC Kansas City Face 2 Face Educational Chair

Loretta-01At 42, Loretta was a full-time nurse practitioner and educator raising four-year-old twins with her husband. She never thought she would be told she had breast cancer. When diagnosed, Loretta was desperate to find someone who understood the struggles she was facing and could give her a survivor’s perspective on treatment options, especially reconstruction.

As Loretta searched online for information specific to “young women and breast cancer,” she found Young Survival Coalition (YSC). As a health care worker herself, she thought, “It’s imperative for all medical professionals dealing with young women diagnosed with breast cancer to have access to YSC’s resources and give them to their patients immediately upon diagnosis.”

Wanting other young survivors to know they weren’t alone, Loretta took on the role of educational chair with YSC in Kansas City. She expanded the group’s outreach efforts and garnered recognition for YSC among local oncologists and health care providers.

Loretta organized workshops covering topics such as genetics, nutrition and fitness, sex and intimacy, treatment updates, cardiac implications, bone health concerns following treatment and advocacy opportunities. These events incorporated YSC’s educational Factor Series, and the sessions provided a forum for the medical community to learn from survivors and dispel the myth that young women can’t get breast cancer.

Today, Loretta continues to educate herself, as well as others. She recently served as a consumer peer reviewer for the Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs in Breast Cancer research and, in July 2013, attended the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) advanced advocate training program Project LEAD. Staying on top of the latest research, she makes it her mission to keep her colleagues informed.

Loretta-02

Loretta, thrid from left, at NBCC’s Project Lead.

Thank you Loretta for your dedication to connecting the medical community of Kansas City to the women of YSC (#YSCBuzz)!

Register as a YSC Volunteer

 

Leave a comment

Kara Guzzetti

 

YSC's 15 Volunteers Making a Difference

Kara Guzzetti, Philadelphia Mets F2F Network Leader & YSC Tour de Pink® East Coast Rider from Team “Fighting Phillies”

Kara, at right, at a metastatic breast cancer conference.
Kara, at right, at a metastatic breast cancer conference.

Kara was starting her career as a lawyer when, at the age of 29, she found out she had breast cancer. She worked through her treatment, and, while she had support from family, friends and colleagues, she knew something was missing.

Fortunately, Kara was approached by another young survivor who told her about Young Survival Coalition (YSC) and the local South Jersey YSC group near her home. Since attending her first YSC meeting, she has been involved with and working to give back to the organization that gave her so much.

Three and a half years later, Kara was told her breast cancer had spread and her disease had become metastatic. Now living in Philadelphia and a member of the local YSC group there, she has met several young women living with metastatic disease. Many of these women felt, “It would be helpful to have a more intimate meeting just for this smaller group.” Kara agreed and got the ball rolling.

In July 2013, Kara contacted YSC’s Northeast Region Field Manager (RFM) and talked about the idea of forming a YSC Face 2 Face (F2F) group just for metastatic women in the Philly area. Together with YSC, she set the plan into motion.

The first meeting of the new F2F was held in September 2013 just months after the idea’s inception. Kara wanted an environment that would be warm, intimate and comfortable, so she hosted the first meeting in her home. Optimizing YSC’s social networks, she invited young women living in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas.

As a young women living with metastatic disease, she knows firsthand there are days that might be physically harder than others. The group intends to hold all their meetings at members’ homes allowing for members who may be unable to travel. Kara believes, “It’s important to make this F2F as accessible as possible to the women who need it.”

As Kara takes on this new challenge, she continues to pursue her goal of riding alongside her Fighting Philly teammates in YSC’s Tour de Pink® (TdP). Last year she received a free Giant bicycle, which inspired her to train hard and pedal the 200 miles from Philadelphia to the nation’s capital Washington, D.C. Kara rode again ride in this year’s TdP and lives every day focused on staying healthy and riding for her survivor sisters who can’t.

Team Fighting Phillies in 2012.

Team Fighting Phillies in 2012.

Thank you Kara for your determination to ensure YSC is able to meet the needs of young women living with metastatic breast cancer in Philadelphia.

Register as a YSC Volunteer

 

Comment (1)

Ishiuan Hargrove, M.M.Sc, DABR

 

YSC's 15 Volunteers Making a Difference

Ishiuan Hargrove, M.M.Sc, DABR — Medical Physicist and Radiation Safety Officer at the Watson Clinic LLP, breast cancer advocate & Tour de Pink rider

At age 33, just five months after Ishiuan (e-shane) gave birth to her second child, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Ishiuan’s job was the sole source of income for her family of four, and she feared the loss of her family’s health insurance.

Ishiuan with her bike at work.

Ishiuan with her bike at work.

As a medical physicist, planning radiation regiments for cancer patients, Ishiuan saw cancer every day. Additionally, as a woman of Taiwanese decent, she was frustrated with the lack of resources for young women affected by breast cancer whose primary language was Chinese.

Toward the end of 2007, after a cancer-related brain surgery, Ishiuan and her family moved back to Taiwan.

While in Taiwan, she began volunteering for Taiwan Breast Cancer Alliances (TBCA) . Through TBCA, Ishiuan took 42 mostly non-English speaking women to Brisbane, Australia, for the 15th annual Breast Cancer Support Conference. This trip reinforced her desire to help educate the Chinese-speaking population about breast cancer.

In 2012 and back in the United States, Ishiuan found Young Survival Coalition (YSC), while searching online for resources specifically for young women with breast cancer. Struggling with the negative impact on her knees from years of running, Ishiuan noticed YSC’s three-day bike ride, Tour de Pink® (#YSCTdP). A veteran of three-day walks, she eagerly signed up for the challenge.

Ishiuan training for Tour de Pink.

Ishiuan training for Tour de Pink.

Ishiuan assembled a team including her sister-in-law and her breast surgeon, and they raised $8,707 for YSC her first year. Ishiuan’s culture emphasizes the importance of karma, and she often says, “You don’t have to wait until the next life to get back the good you give.” Through involvement with YSC, her team for 2013 has grown to more than 20 riders, including several cyclists she met last year who she now considers close friends.

In February 2013, Ishiuan was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Despite actively undergoing chemotherapy, she continues to work full time and train for Tour de Pink. Ishiuan is also a YSC State Leader and looks forward to utilizing her understanding of the Chinese language and culture to facilitate the delivery of YSC materials to Chinese-speaking women.

A very special thank you Ishiuan, for your determination to bring YSC resources to all young women, regardless of the language they speak.

Register as a YSC Volunteer

Register as a YSC Volunteer

 

Leave a comment

Stephen (Sven) Johnson

YSC's 15 Volunteers Making a Difference

Stephen (Sven) Johnson, Co-founder and Leader of YSC Champaign-Urbana Face 2 Face Network

Sven's wife Leslie Hammersmith.

Sven’s wife Leslie Hammersmith.

When Sven’s wife, Leslie Hammersmith, was diagnosed with breast cancer at 36, they were both shocked.

As Leslie’s cancer journey moved ahead, she wanted to start giving back to Young Survival Coalition (YSC) and those who had been a lifeline to her. Though neither of them had ever run a marathon, they discovered the charity runner program for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, and the couple embraced the challenge.

Sven completed several races across the country raising over $15,000 for YSC from 2007–2010, but he didn’t stop there. When Leslie and Jennifer Arnold Smith began YSC awareness and support events in 2009, he quickly became involved.

Being part of his wife’s cancer experience spurred Sven into a lifetime dedicated to improving support and education for all people affected by cancer. From working with YSC to ensure a presence in local hospitals, at health fairs and community events, to being a welcoming and understanding presence at the YSC Face 2 Face (#YSCF2F) network meetings, Sven is dedicated to making sure no one has to go through cancer alone.

But he wanted to do more … so, being a musician, he utilized his ties to Champaign-Urbana’s music scene and started a live music fest called Beneath the Skin in 2010. This annual event raised nearly $5,000 over three years for YSC. During the fundraiser, local musicians perform and provide a platform for the YSC F2F to share information.

Sven says, “Speaking openly about the challenges Leslie and I faced connects me to other young couples dealing with breast cancer and lets them know they are not alone.”

Sven-01

Sven and wife Leslie at Beneath the Skin.

Thank you Sven for making both caregivers and survivors in Champaign-Urbana feel recognized and appreciated!

Register as a YSC Volunteer

 

Comments (2)