Last week I had the privilege of flying to Austin, TX to attend the LiveSTRONG Young Adult Alliance Conference. This organization is only a few years old, but I think it has a lot of potential to really make an impact on the fight against cancer. Throughout history, it is the young adults that stimulate change. This organization brings together the leaders in young adult cancer community. I met many of my online friends/advocates for the first time face-to-face. Voices of Survivors, Imerman Angels, Planet Cancer, Tamika and Friends, the Colon Club, Movember, the Testicular Cancer Resource Center, the LiveSTRONG Foundation, the Ulman Fund, and numerous others are doing amazing things! Them, along with I'm Too Young For This, SeventyK, Camp Mak-A Dream, First Descents, the National Brain Tumor Society, and the Kelly Heinz-Grundner Brain Tumor Foundation inspire me to bring my organization, mAss Kickers Foundation to the next level. I was able to attend panels discussing: fundraising in the current economy; treatment issues for young adults; psychological, social, behavioral, and health service research; patient education nonprofits; and the YAA Science task force. There were plenty of opportunities to network with other organizations and even a tour of the LiveSTRONG Headquarters in Austin, but quite honestly the most memorable networking moments for me were the "unsponsored" activities. I got to room with First Descents and even hit the town with a handful of conference attendees. Those were the memories I will remember most. All I have to say is "if you work hard, you deserve to play hard!". The LSYAA has a lot of potential to unite a number of organizations with a common goal of fighting cancer and brain tumors for young adults. I personally would like to see measurable short term and long term goals for the organization. There is no doubt that this organization has the potential to bring about real change due to the leadership, passion, and skills of all it's members. We are all relatively young, full of energy, and passionate about a cause that will unite us. I think that the potential of the Alliance will be something to take notice of in the next few years!
*originally published on Nov 16, 2009 @ 23:20 www.ericgalvezdpt.com