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COVID-19: Constants and changes, danger and opportunity

Hey gang, I hope you are healthy and safe during this COVID-19 pandemic. There has been A LOT of change in the past few weeks, and much more to come, I’m sure. Every area of Young Adult Cancer Canada (YACC) has changed in the last week in some way, but despite all the changes, there are as many constants. I will host a Facebook Live Q&A on YACC’s Facebook page with our program director, Karine, on March 24, 2020 at 6 p.m. EDT to give more context to some of the following points, but here’s how we’re moving forward in the meantime.

Fundraising has changed: The Shave for the Brave — responsible for about 40 per cent of our annual budget — has been derailed with the closing of schools and public gatherings. We remain hopeful to revive some of the Shaves, however we know most are out for this year. Third party events — another 10 per cent of our budget and led by superstar volunteers — are also cancelled or postponed for the foreseeable future.

YACC is constant: Every cancer, every stage, YACC’s got your back. We have met challenges before and we will meet this one. Tough times don’t last, tough people do. 

Cancer is constant: Today, as over half of our country lives in a state of emergency, 22 young adults were diagnosed with cancer. Tomorrow, as we extend social distancing and self-isolation, another 22 will learn their future is in doubt, their lives altered forever. Cancer is a constant.

Rising program demand is constant: Program demand is on a constant rise at 340 per cent of capacity, (i.e. we get 340 applications for every 100 spots we have at four-day retreats and conferences). YACC’s community is one of the “vulnerable populations” we hear about daily, and more than ever they need connections and reassuring voices of YACC friends who “get it.”

Survivor Conference has changed: The largest Survivor Conference of our life was rescheduled last Friday. Hopefully our vulnerable population will be safe to travel to Winnipeg in October. The 120 registered young adults will hopefully rebook. Hopefully we can secure more funds for the 122 on the waitlist.

Localife has changed: All of YACC’s face-to-face gatherings have been suspended leaving the YACC community diving deeper into our web-based programs. Localife leaders across the country are leading virtual activities to keep long-time and brand new YACCers connected.

Innovation is constant: While face-to-face programs are paused, we will ramp up web-based initiatives, including a virtual conference with some of our incredible experts across the country, small and large web gatherings with varying purposes, and enhanced content on the issues facing young adults living with, through, and beyond cancer. And yes, we will be having Netflix Parties!

The Chinese symbol for crisis uses symbols for danger and opportunity; there is danger ahead and we know at least as much opportunity. We are pouring ourselves into meeting this crisis and will keep you posted on our progress. Thank you for your role in getting YACC to here. Our best is yet to come.

Live life. Love life.


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