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Alex Mandarino


I identify as an Italian-Canadian straight male, currently single.

I was an active and bright-eyed kid before cancer. I loved to get out, explore, get educated, and didn’t have much of a care in the world. When I was diagnosed and faced a two-and-a-half year treatment protocol, I felt alone, lost, and disconnected from all of those around me. Although my mentality was strong and my head was up, it took a lot of support from friends and family to create the man standing here today.

I attended the Big Cancer Hook-up in 2017 from Toronto, ON, and leaped right into the Survivor Conference that same year. Something was drawing me towards it. Since then, I have attended three conferences, volunteered at YACC events, and have shared a bond with hundreds of like-minded individuals with warm hearts, unbelievable self-worth, and humility. I feel welcome every time I step foot in a YACC environment, and it provides the rare ability to be myself.

YACCtivism only starts with us 15, but where it goes depends on the participation and outreach that all of us in the young adult cancer community provide to our fellow cancer thrivers who don’t have a sense of belonging. It means sharing our stories, our ups and downs, how we triumphed, and how we have anguished so others can grow as young adults who have a lot on their plates.

Help us find the 21 young adults in Canada diagnosed with cancer every day who have NOT found the YACC community.

Diagnosis: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Age at diagnosis: 20

Location: ON


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