We launched YACC Web: Talks early in the quarantine, a “weekly” webcast with an expert on an issue surrounding the young adult cancer experience.

We Get It season 3 featured a series of conversations led by YACCer Alex Mandarino.

Catch up on past videos here, our YouTube channel, and our Facebook page.

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In the final episode of season three, Alex speaks with Marla Brennan as she shares her insight and experience on an abstract concept: imagination!

A performing artist her whole life, Marla combined her love of acting, theatre, singing, and juggling to curate Imagination Meets Cancer. She shares the background of this project, along with her cancer experience and her goals in the future.

Marla identifies as a white Maltese-Irish Canadian woman who has a passion for the expressive arts such as acting, spoken-word poetry, songwriting, puppetry, and juggling.

In 2020, she was living in Los Angeles and shifting to performing and teaching online after the onset of the pandemic when she experienced a medical emergency which resulted in a stage 3 ovarian cancer diagnosis.

“I quickly returned home to Canada, surrendered my fertility via total hysterectomy, and begin treatments. Through the loss and devastation, I used my imagination to cope. By embodying characters that could help me heal and by creating scenarios that were much more favourable than my current reality, I committed myself to a vision in which cancer could deliver tremendous healing to me, which I could then pass on to others.”

During her recovery, Marla developed Imagination Meets Cancer, a creative research initiative to understand and express how imagination is a viable tool in recovery. She is currently performing, collaborating, teaching, and feeling incredibly well!

You can find Marla on Instagram as @marlaohmarla.

Thank you to our partners at CIBC for supporting this web series!

Click here to catch up on past episodes!


We Get It is taking a short hiatus while we host Primetown 2022. Visit primetown.ca to learn more and register!


Alex (he/him) is a lover of coffee and espresso, but ironically not a morning person — much to his recent surprise! He wears his heart on his sleeve, much to the excitement or dismay of those around him when he watches a Toronto Maple Leafs game. He classifies himself as an introvert, but good luck getting him to pipe down when he’s around his friends — especially those he’s made through his 4+ years interacting with the YACC community.

Originally from Brampton, Ontario, he once trekked halfway across the country in 2017 to attend his first Survivor Conference with YACC in St John’s, NL, and was instantly hooked with the immense community that was created over just four days. After getting “Screeched in” with the seal of a codfish kiss, it didn’t take much else to realize YACC was the missing piece to the cancer puzzle.

Alex believes there aren’t many things more powerful than sharing your story, considering it is one of one. Not only can this create a cathartic experience for the teller, but it paves the way for others to be vulnerable. This abundance of collective healing and understanding is a privilege that few outside the cancer community experience.

With We Get It, Alex will attempt to offer information to all YACCers and supporters who are feeing isolated and unheard, and show them that there are resources and voices in their corner throughout the entire journey.

This program is made possible thanks to the generous support of:

Production of YACC Web: Talks has been made possible through collaboration and financial support from the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer Corporation and Health Canada.

The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of
the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer Corporation or Health Canada.

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