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YACC values heart (well, love actually)

At our monthly team meetings, one of our crew members discusses one of our five values: strength, courage, commitment, heart, and trail-blazing. This is Alicia’s reflection from this month’s meeting.

Last weekend, I watched one of my favorite holiday movies: Love Actually. And as always, the opening scene made me tear up and I might have had a moment — okay, I definitely had a moment. Though I’m sure you have all heard it before, I wanted to share the opening (and my favorite) quote from the movie:

“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there — fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge — they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”

If you haven’t already guessed it, the value I have chosen is heart. Here at YACC we classify heart as being bold and brave, compassionate, and fiercely protective of our pride of young adults; I classify that as love. Heart and love can be felt here at YACC HQ on a daily basis. Whether it’s the love we have for all the young adults in our network, the love we have for this organization, or the love and respect we have for each other.

The same can be said about cancer. Though initially the mention of cancer causes sadness and grief among other things, when a young adult — or anyone for that matter is diagnosed with cancer — I have a sneaky feeling that you’ll also find love. This is especially true for the young adults in our network. Feeling isolated and alone, they connect with YACC, and it isn’t long before they feel support, encouragement, inspiration, and most of all, love.

Whether it’s attending the Survivor Conference, Retreat Yourself, or being an active member of the online community,  YACC has a unique way of making everyone feel included, accepted, and safe. When I think back to the Survivor Conference this past June, I can’t help but think of all the love and support the survivors had for each other despite being strangers only days before. I particularly remember sitting in the conference room on Saturday morning after the breakout workshops and listening to one group sing their version of “All You Need Is Love.”  That is a prime example of how YACC can instantly fill voids and offer a protective and compassionate environment for everyone involved.

It is my experience that when people fall on difficult times, there is an abundance of love and support from family, friends, and even strangers, and these moments often bring people closer together. Call it the silver lining if you will, but whether it’s illness or the passing of a friend or loved one, I can guarantee that wherever you look, you’ll see support, kindness, empathy, and love.

My aunt passed away from cancer two years ago in November, and one thing that still replays over and over in my mind is her last few days and how my whole family was with her. My aunts, uncles, cousins, and even close family friends never left her house, or each other’s sides. We slept on chairs and couches and took turns going out for the much-needed Tim Horton’s runs. There were hugs, tears, and the occasional laugh, but most of all there was an outpouring of love.

Love is bold and brave, love is compassionate and protective. Love can mean many different things to different people, but here at YACC, love is heart and every young adult in our network, every supporter, every family member, and everyone on our staff embodies it. Though situations aren’t always consistent, positive, or easy, one thing that remains deeply embedded at YACC is heart.

So whenever you’re feeling stressed, saddened, or discouraged, take a moment to sit back and reflect.  Because If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love is actually all around.

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