August marks a very important milestone in my life. I’m proud to say that as of the 23rd I am officially 10 years cancer free. With this in mind, The Dear Jack Foundation is embarking on our most ambitious fundraising effort to date. We call it the 72k Challenge.
Each year there are 72,000 newly diagnosed Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) cancer patients. The AYA population consists of young adults ages 15-39 years of age. Our goal is to raise $72,000, one dollar for each newly diagnosed AYA patient and use those dollars to fund initiatives that make a difference in their lives.
For 10 years, Dear Jack has been working hand in hand with philanthropic organizations to advocate on behalf of this underserved community. Our efforts have funded college scholarships for young adult cancer survivors, added more than 1000 new names to the bone marrow registry, supported one of the first AYA medical fellowship programs and provided AYA cancer patients and survivors with opportunities to attend adventure camps with their peers, just to name a few. This year we are gearing up to execute the first ever program, wholly conceived, funded and organized by the DJF. We will be hosting a series of one day seminars targeting AYA cancer patients as they transition from treatment into survivorship. This is a particularly precarious time for young adults and we are hopeful that our work in this area will give those attending essential tools for a healthy transition into their lives, post cancer.