Young adult cancer (age 15-39) is largely unknown in the war on cancer with 72,000 new diagnoses each year. That's one every eight minutes. This is not OK! This neglected group—now millions strong—has limited resources, inadequate support, and, more importantly, a lack of awareness and understanding from the community around them.
Founded in 2007 by Matthew Zachary, a young adult brain cancer survivor, Stupid Cancer has become the largest US-based charity that comprehensively addresses young adult cancer through advocacy, research, support, outreach, awareness, mobile health and social media. The organization has proudly emerged as the dominant support community and social influencer for this underserved population and now serves as a bullhorn for the young adult cancer movement.
Stupid Cancer proudly supports a global network of patients, survivors, caregivers, providers and advocates to ensure that no one affected by young adult cancer go unaware of the age-appropriate resources they are entitled to so they can get busy living. Our innovative and multi-award-winning programs—such as CancerCon, Instapeer, The OMG! Cancer Summit for Young Adults, The Stupid Cancer Road Trip, The Stupid Cancer Store and many others—have brought the cause of 'cancer under 40' to the national spotlight and rallied a brand new generation of activists to give a much needed voice to our forgotten population.
Our mission is to empower those affected by young adult cancer by:
• building community
• improving quality of life
• providing meaningful survivorship
Our vision is no survivor alone.
Our charter is to ensure that no one affected by young adult cancer go unaware of the age-appropriate support resources they are entitled to so they can get busy living.
Stupid Cancer was borne out of an inequity. In 1995, at the age of 21, concert pianist, composer and college Senior Matthew Zachary was diagnosed with pediatric brain cancer and told he'd likely not survive six months let alone never perform again. He and his family were thrust into a cancer landscape much different than today.
The Internet was in its infancy, cancer resources for young adults were few and far between and 'surviving' meant living beyond five years. Although Matthew and his family were offered comfort through a small, fragmented community, they were not able to benefit from many of today's surviorship resources. Like millions of other families, they had to go it on their own and hope for the best.
Since 1996, there has been an upsurge of young adult advocacy organizations whose programs, tools and services are specifically directed at the unique needs of those aged 15-39. Many of these groups were founded by young survivors like Matthew. Unfortunately, 10 years later in 2006, despite living in an age of unbridled interconnectivity and global communications, most young adults affected by cancer (and their caregivers) are simply not aware of—and therefore do not even have the option to access—the myriad of resources at their disposal—and this is a shame.
In 2004, Matthew founded Steps For Living (which became I'm Too Young For This! Cancer Foundation in 2007 and then Stupid Cancer in 2012), a progressive social enterprise that linked his worlds of music, cancer advocacy, consumer health marketing and technology to ensure that people like he, his wife, brother and parents would have the opportunity to benefit from community and support resources they only wished they had in 1995.
Today, Stupid Cancer is the largest nonprofit of its kind worldwide. Hailed as "the dominant youth cancer nonprofit" by MTV, Stupid Cancer's global following would not be possible without its millions of subscribers, friends, fans, readers, listeners and members. A hip and edgy lifestyle brand for the youth culture, the foundation has been recognized as a innovator at the nexus of social media, youth culture and digital health, garnering international accredidation throughout the cancer continuum. In addition to being named a TIME Magazine Best 50 Website, the organization was named a Top 10 Healthcare Blog for 2010 by FOX News and accredited by the Washington Post as "an unparalleled resource for cancer patients in their teens, 20s and 30s."
Over the past eight years of operation, Stupid Cancer has forged alliances with national public health institutions and young adult advocacy organizations, launched the Web's premiere online young adult resource community, produced more than a dozen annual young adult cancer conferences, innovated social media and mobile health platforms for improved patient outcomes, connected thousands of cancer centers to it's resources and socially mobilized millions to a progressive new movement that is demanding change from an establishment that they have been ignored by for far too long.
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