So we recently received a few Facebook, Twitter and Blog comments from the iy team giving us an earful about why the "I’m Too Young For This! Cancer Foundation” was not included in our blog post about Cancer and Social Media. Soon after that, I personally received a message from Mathew Zachary (iy’s Founder) bringing this same striking fact to my attention.
One would have thought I hacked onto their website and shut it down…lol…getting a message directly from their Founder, it must have been a code red alert at the iy headquarters! However, no code red…but that’s just how seriously these guys take their mission…and THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!!!! We love and appreciate this kind of passion!! It’s organizations like "I'm too young for this!" who aren’t afraid to speak up and make some noise…that’s why these guys are pervading the interwebs and making an extremely large impact on the cancer community.
For those of you teens and young adults who aren’t familiar, www.I2Y.org is a website you need to bookmark immediately! First, let me clear the air by letting you all know we take full responsibility for that blog post and it was certainly not our intention to leave iy out of it. So… we figured we’d show our iy love by writing an entire post on them. Secondly, Matt and I have since become buddies and realized that we are not only on similar missions, but we both have a great deal in common (which you’ll see as you read further). The iy movement has given a whole new meaning to the term Stupid Cancer!
These guys are in the trenches every day amplifying the voice of adolescence and young adults (AYA) with cancer. Their community represents a generation (ages 15-40) who realize they have different needs than children or adults with cancer. Who realizes that in America alone, the fatality rate in AYA patients is 7x’s greater than in child cancer patients—and iy intends to change this. They have begun to do this by creating a social enterprise that combines art, music, technology, social marketing and support for AYA’s with cancer. They feel that by developing a culture around teen and young adult survivorship, they can empower their generation to live healthier…and say goodbye to Stupid Cancer! Matthew Zachary (MZ) is much like me… a musician, songwriter and a young adult cancer survivor…oh yeah…and we both celebrate Hanukkah. :)
There is no doubt that Matt is on a serious mission and is intensely devoted to his tribe. In 1995 he was diagnosed with pediatric brain cancer and told he may never perform again. This was also back when the internet was still a newborn baby, so there was little online support for him and his family. Today he is alive, well and fighting to give the youth a comprehensive social support system. Matt is also an award-winning musician/composer, an accredited thought-leader in public health, an advisor to Google Health, a leading authority on the youth cancer culture and a highly coveted motivational speaker. MZ’s method treats survivorship as daily life practice and is centered on interdependence and creativity.
I couldn’t agree more!! After all, Know Cancer was built around many of these same principles. The iy brand has now become more of a lifestyle and is highly regarded in the social-health sphere. In 2007 TIME Magazine listed www.I2Y.com among the Best 50 Websites. Just go check out their Manifesto or patient testimonials to really gain an understanding of their dedication to helping AYA’s. Over the past 3 years, iy has formed alliances with national public health institutions and young adult advocacy organizations, organized the first national coalition of young adult musician-survivors and nationalized a young adult cancer conference.
In 2007 they launched the Web's premiere AYA community resource website, mobilizing thousands of young adults affected by cancer to get involved in a progressive new movement that is demanding change. iy also has a cancer talk radio show, not surprisingly deemed the Stupid Cancer Show. The show is hosted by MZ and Lisa Bernhard (former Entertainment Correspondent for the Fox News Channel) and has become the voice of AYA’s affected by cancer. The program is now in its 6th season as has drawn high profile guests that range from A-list celebrities to top public health officials. It airs LIVE every Monday night at 9pm/6pm (ET/PT).
Actually, Matt invited yours truly to appear on the Stupid Cancer Show on February 22nd! It would mean a lot to me if you all tuned in and spread the word about the show…some Facebook comments and Tweets about it would really be appreciated as well! I will be talking about my experience with cancer and how music helped me to heal. So tune into the show on February 22nd and make sure that no matter what you tune into www.I2Y.com right now and see how they are changing the world of cancer!