I'm Mary Kathryn Rodrigue, and IT'S NOT OKAY!
It's not okay that every 8 minutes, a young adult is diagnosed with cancer and every hour a young adult loses their battle to cancer. Cancer is now the #1 disease killer in young adults. This is not okay.
In 2002, my husband Drew Rodrigue, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at 20 years old. At the time I was studying business at the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!) and was taking a psychology class as an elective. Something in that class clicked for me, so I switched my major, and after way too many years of school, I earned my Ph.D. and now work in the field of psychosocial oncology as the Director of Survivorship at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. In 2008, and my sister-in-law Melanie Clabert, was also diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at 27 years old.
On August 15, 2009, Drew passed away after his seven year courageous battle. During this time he still graduated from college, lived his dream of coaching high school football, and married me (his personal highlight, in my opinion). His resiliency inspires me daily, and no matter your situation, you are in control of how you let it affect you. My favorite quote is from Aldous Huxley, “experience is not what happens to a man, but what a man does with what happens to him”.
The I'm Too Young For This! Cancer Foundation, the largest support community of young adult survivors and caregivers in the US. Online at http://StupidCancer.com, they give survivors like me a voice and raise awareness for the unique issues that I face as a young adult; issues like isolation, fertility, sexuality, dating, insurance, career building and more.
Their annual conference, the OMG! Cancer Summit for Young Adults, is a pivotal event that brings together hundreds of young adult survivors and caregivers for a one-of-a-kind experience of healing, education and community. No one should ever have to go through cancer alone. The OMG! Cancer Summit makes this possible.
Please support my efforts in raising $1,000 to ensure that I get the chance to attend this event and make a difference for so many thousands of young adults in need.
Here is what others have had to say about this event in the past:
“The OMG! Summit taught me to keep fighting, be my own advocate and never give up, no matter what the doctor says.”
"I loved meeting new people as well as seeing old friends in person who I’d only known through Facebook.”
“The OMG! Summit and the sheer enormity of our community has left me more inspired than ever."
“I made so many new connections. I can't wait to spread more awareness about young adult cancer.”
“What an amazing, life-changing and inspiring weekend.”