What does AYA mean?

I realize I use “AYA” often assuming people know what it means. After all, the nice little acronym saves 5 syllables — a lot in an elevator speech, which is most often when I have to use it.  I have been asked about AYA a lot lately, so I thought I would just dedicate an entire blog post to it.

AYA stands for Adolescents & Young Adults, ages 15-39, and a unique group within the cancer world. It’s also the group we serve as part of our Camp Koru Program. What makes this group so special that they get their own designated group acronym?

72,000 Adolescents & Young Adults are diagnosed with cancer each year.  Here are some more stats on AYAs & Cancer, some which is referenced by our friends at stupidcancer.org.

  • Cancer incidence in AYAs has increased in the last 30 years more than any other age group.
  • Mortality is higher in AYAs than any other age group with cancer.
  • Cancer has become the number one disease killer in young adults.
  • AYAs are the most underserved patient population by age.
  • AYAs get entirely different cancers than other age groups.
  • The reasons why young adults get cancer are entirely different than that of other age groups.

What makes AYAs Different:
•    Young adults have unique needs that other age groups do not such as fertility, relationships, dating, intimacy, sexuality, singlehood, parenting, insurance, financial assistance, career planning, education and age-appropriate peers support.
•    Social isolation is the number one issue faced by young adults with cancer. Fertility is a close 2nd.
•    Quality of life for these patients is as important as quality of care.

My brother was 19 when he died from Leukemia. He was on the lower end of the age range, but still dealing with the same issues as if he was going on 30. Fortunately, the medical and cancer community is taking notice of the cancer problem in the AYA age group. There is now a surge of active attention on, and funding for. AYAs in research, treatment, support, and survivorship services. Our Camp Koru program is one of the only adventure therapy programs for AYAs that accepts survivors under 20.

Now you know what AYA means and so much more!

Athletes for Cancer Executive Director wins 2012 SELF Magazine Women Doing Good Award

Athletes for Cancer Executive Director Tonia Farman was one of three women in the country honored by SELF Magazine to receive the publication’s prestigious Women Doing Good Award.

SELF asked readers to nominate women who they felt saw a need, hatched a plan, and changed the world for the better. Over 5000 nominations poured in, and dozens vetted to narrow the selection down to just three winners, including Tonia.

“This is such a huge honor, and also a huge acknowledgement of the work done at Athletes for Cancer.

“When I received the call from SELF Editor in Chief Lucy Danziger about the award, I was in complete shock. There are hundreds of incredible women across the country who do amazing work and equally deserve this.”

Tonia was featured on the Today Show with Jessica Alba and the two other amazing women for their philanthropic work that earned them SELF Magazine’s Women Doing Good Award for 2012. The Today Show segment was hosted by Kathy Lee Gifford and Hoda and gave each honoree about 30 seconds to tell their story! That’s not a lot of time to tell our story but she did it! Watch the segment here.

The EPIC Survivor EXPERIENCE: Survivor Outrigger Canoeing Camp & Voyage around Lanai

The KORU Outrigger Canoeing Voyage is a 9-day cancer survivor camp that involves intense paddling and ocean training, finishing with a 2-day channel crossing and island voyage. The camp is steeped in Hawaiian traditions and deep connections to the ocean.
Preview this camp via video: http://vimeo.com/46067496 

We will start the 9-day journey with four days of training with our partners at Kihei Canoe Club before making the epic Auau Channel crossing from Maui to Lanai as part of the Paddle for Life Maui event. This two-day voyage begins in Ka’anapali on October 13th, paddling around the backside of Lanai and landing at Manele Bay in the evening. On the morning of October 14th, canoes will make the final crossing back across the Auau Channel, retuning to Ka’anapali Beach. October 15th is a recovery day, and the 16th is departure day.

The Voyage requires a slight higher level of fitness than our regular camps. Intermediate and somewhat strong swimming skills are required. Activity will be moderate to intense for 6 full days. If you have any questions about the fitness level, please ask me specifically.

This camp, requires a fundraising component of survivor attendees of $1500. We’ll work with you in any way we can to help you meet your goal. Participants must pay their airfare to Maui, but all expenses are covered once participants reach Maui.  I guarantee you… This camp will be one of the most magical experiences of a lifetime. 

Apply now

If you are interested in sponsoring a survivor for this camp, please consider donating to Athletes for Cancer or contact A4C Director Tonia Farman at the email below. Donations allow us to put the Koru Survivorship Program on at NO COST to attendees.

Send us an email with questions to info at athletes4cancer.org

Team Duke Athletes for Cancer Surf Camp invites survivors to surf, connect, and live.

The John Wayne Cancer Foundation and Team Duke is committed to helping young lives affected by cancer to find life again by partnering with  Athletes for Cancer to underwrite our third survivorship camp this April. We still have a couple spots left and are accepting applications for these camps NOW. For complete camp info, check out our Programs.

  • April 1-7, 2012 – Team Duke A4C Surf & SUP Camp : Maui, Hawaii

Other camps in 2012: 

  • November 1-7 –  Surfing & Standup Paddlesurfing : Maui, Hawaii
  • November 11-17 –  Surfing & Standup Paddlesurfing : Maui, Hawaii
About the Team Duke A4C Camp:
Athletes 4 Cancer is focused on renewing, rebuilding, and restarting lives after cancer. We do this through adventure-therapy retreats that promote a healthy model for survivorship. These retreats utilize a combination of adventure challenges, connection to the natural elements, and building strong peer relationships through the experience. And most of all, have fun doing it.

Survivorship Requirements

  • ALL LEVELS of physical abilities are welcome to apply!!
  • cancer fighters and survivors between the ages of 18 and 40 at time of application
  • cancer diagnosis must be after 15th birthday
  • submission and approval of survivor application
  • submission and approval of A4C medical form,  completed and signed by doctor
  • airfare/transportation to the nearest airport of camp destination is attendee’s responsibility, but food, accommodations, transportation during camp, instruction, and all necessary gear is covered for the week once at camp.

Sorry, I’m new.

I totally suck at this self-shooting video stuff. This was my first attempt and I flailed.

All I was trying to do was shoot a 30-second thank-you and it turned into a 3-minute ramble. My husband warns me that I let my emotions wander too much. He’s always so straight and to-the-point. I should have him do these. Oh well. You all have to just deal with it. It’s from the heart, a little rambly, but thorough. I’m sure it will win awards.

Kiteboarding 4 Cancer and JWCF give 2010 funds to Hood River’s Nuestra Comunidad Sana

Kiteboarding 4 Cancer and John Wayne Cancer Foundation gave The Next Door $21,000 today for their breast cancer outreach program, Nuestra Comunidad Sana. The 2010 Kiteboarding 4 Cancer athletes raised $73,000 for various cancer programs in the northwest, $42,000 of which were matched by the John Wayne Cancer Foundation. Kiteboarding 4 Cancer chose Nuestra Comunidad Sana for its impactful grass-roots prevention program in the Columbia Gorge community.


The purpose of Nuestras Comunidad Sana/Our Healthy Community is to comprehensively address the need to increase the survival rate of women with breast cancer for rural, low-income, under-served women in the Mid-Columbia region (central border area between Oregon and Washington) and provide needed support to women being screened for breast cancer and improve cancer survivors’ quality of life.

For the past several years, NCS’ Health Promoters have been successful in overcoming gender, social and cultural barriers to promote breast health among Latino community members. In order to continue to be agents of change in the Mid-Columbia region, the need to raise breast health awareness and provide outreach is essential for its community members. It is important that all women receive regular screenings and that all men and women accept breast health as an entitlement!

The uniqueness of the program comes from the use of Health Promoters, community residents who are specifically trained by an NCS Lead Health Promoter to reach their community with the program’s message.  This combination of health education and leadership development has been the foundation of all NCS programs and has been directly responsible for not only NCS’ ability to reach thousands of people each year but also with helping to sustain the program over the past nine years.  No matter how funding support to NCS ebbs and flows, there remains a cadre of trained and dedicated community health promoters who continue to lead the effort to educate, support and advocate for their neighbors.

The NCS program has four main activity areas:

1)     General outreach through radio Public Service Announcements, Mothers Day and Fathers Day mammogram reminder cards and general large scale outreach to big groups about the importance of early detection—our annual target is usually around 3,000 people

2)     One-on-one outreach to women and men at work, in their homes, in church, at health fairs—through presentations or just talking one-on-one to 400 men and 400 women.

3)     Screening assistance—teaching how to do self-exams, helping people get clinical breast exams and mammograms (transportation, childcare, interpretation, translation of results and any follow-up) for 100 women (we assist some English speaking women with this as well).

4)     Breast cancer survivor support group meeting monthly for 5-8 women.

For more information on Nuestras Mujeres Sanas, check out their website, http://nextdoorinc.org/.