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Introducing: 13thirty Cancer Connect

Written by Kate Fitscher

As a native to Buffalo with family members that have struggled with cancer, "Roswell" is just a part of my everyday vocabulary. There are not many other cancer organizations that I hear of that often. Understanding the challenges that loved ones go through with cancer is almost as hard to watch as it is for them to live with. Although I am no doctor, I always seem to be searching for ways to make them feel better. Little did I know, one organization had already beat me to that challenge.

13thirty Cancer Connect is a non-profit organization near Western New York with a goal of changing lives. Their mission is to help teens and young adults with cancer live their very best lives - today! While many organizations focus on bettering the lives of pediatric cancer or geriatric cancer patients, the young adult age group is typically ignored. 13thirty, hence the name, focuses on patients ages 13-30 years old.

Unlike other cancer centers, this is not a treatment facility. 13thirty serves as a place where any young adult living with cancer is welcomed with open arms. This inspirational organization offers peer programs for patients to meet and interact with others. 13thirty allows teens and young adults to meet others just like them through fun activities. The three main categories of the peer programs include arts, wellness, and social. Patients can come and participate in anything from yoga, to a cooking class.

With locations in Rochester and Syracuse, 13thirty Cancer Connect has already brightened the lives of many patients. While many young adults travel to their two centers, 13thirty hopes to have more locations in the future. This would enable patients that live farther away to be involved in the organization without having to travel as far to the Rochester or Syracuse center. This can also help spread the mission of 13thirty to a larger audience and help out even more young adults with cancer.

I had not heard of 13thirty Cancer Connect until this past fall when I joined a club in school. As a media and communications major with a minor in marketing at St. John Fisher College, I chose to join PRIMA club to gain experience in my field of studies. PRIMA assigns members to pair up with non-profit organizations and plan marketing campaigns with them. It has now been four months that I have been the marketing coordinator for 13thirty through PRIMA and I love every task that I am given.

We are currently working on establishing brand ambassadors for 13thirty with nursing students at St. John Fisher. These brand ambassadors would wear merchandise supporting 13thirty Cancer Connect such as t-shirts, badge reels, or stethoscope charms. By targeting nursing students, we hope they would eventually have some impact on adolescent and young adult cancer, just like 13thirty does. The brand ambassadors would not only wear the merch, but also post pictures of it on their social media accounts, similar to influencers. By creating a brand ambassador program, we hope this would spread awareness to 13thirty Cancer Connect.

With 13thirty being a non-profit organization, donations are greatly appreciated. In order to keep making a difference in the well-being of these young adults living with cancer, donations are essential. If you are interested in contributing to 13thirty Cancer Connect, visit the link below.

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