In honor of his late wife, Linda, Mike funded the 2018 “Leaving a Legacy” retreat at the YSC National Summit, a program specifically supporting women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Linda valued and treasured her own YSC conference experiences and the support that they provided. He has made a commitment to continue to fund this project through 2021 to ensure that the metastatic community receives the resources and support they need. We are honored to present Mike Vogel as a YSC Game Changer for his support of our metastatic breast cancer programs.
What inspires you in your work to support, empower or educate young women affected by breast cancer?
I’m inspired by my personal experience with my first wife, Linda, who fought breast cancer. I directly saw how valuable the support from an organization like Young Survival Coalition can be for young survivors and their co-survivors.
Linda benefited greatly from YSC through the years. Initially, when she was diagnosed at age 28, YSC was a wonderful source of information for her. But more importantly, Linda attended the annual Summit several times, and I joined her in later years. I feel the greatest benefit of the Summit for her was the connections made with other people – not being alone in the fight, finding a new and lasting circle of friends and support and being able to talk so openly about many personal issues. Linda and I would always come back from the conference feeling empowered and energized!
Inspiration comes when I think about how many other young women out there are facing similar challenges, the positive impact YSC can have on those women and, finally, the many caring people who want to do something for those young women with breast cancer. I’m inspired to do anything I can, in my own small way, to connect all of those people!
What about your work for young women affected by breast cancer makes you most proud?
It makes me incredibly proud to see that there’s such a strong network of supporters out there who are always willing to make a difference, in memory of Linda, by contributing their time or making a donation. It’s always touching to see how Linda is still loved and remembered by so many people.
What are your hopes for the future, with regard to YSC and young breast cancer survivors?
Of course, the hope for the future is a world where breast cancer doesn’t exist and no person has to go through that struggle.
Until that time, I hope to continue to support YSC in my own small way, so that they can provide the resources and information that these young women need. I hope that YSC continues to provide a sense of community that ensures young women are not alone and can get needed resources.
I hope that the impact continues to grow and reaches as wide of an audience as possible by allowing more people to attend conferences or by making content available electronically.
What is your message for YSC on its 20th anniversary?
Congratulations on the positive impact you’ve had on so many young women. Keep up the fantastic work! I hope that over the next 20 years you continue to grow and are able to reach many more young women to provide support and resources that are so vital. (And no offense, but I also hope that in 20 years there won’t be a need for YSC as cancer research advances!)
Anything else you’d like to share?
About the photo: This year I tried a new personal fundraiser to raise additional funds for YSC. I combined my love of photography and birding by trying to see how many bird species I could photograph in one day.
Taken on a different day of birding, the photo is of me and my now-step-daughter, Regan, who was my and Linda’s goddaughter.
It’s especially touching to see her at such a young age wanting to be involved through awareness and donating her allowance. She has already lost a couple of loved ones to this disease. I hope for a world where she can become a young woman without the worries of a disease like breast cancer. It’s comforting to know that if any of her loved ones are faced with this battle, they will not be alone. There are so many people and organizations like YSC who will provide love and support.
About YSC and Game Changers
Young Survival Coalition was founded in 1998 by young women diagnosed with breast cancer under age 35.
YSC is made up of people: survivors, co-survivors, volunteers, donors, healthcare providers. Our strength comes from our community. So in our 20th year, we will honor our roots — the people who have helped build YSC into what it is today — and also look forward, recognizing those in our community who are changing the future of breast cancer in young women.
We are highlighting these individuals as Game Changers throughout 2018 and sharing their stories with the world to thank them for their contributions to our community.