Yael (right) and her mom (left), spreading the foundation's mission statement. (Photo courtesy of FCancer)
Warning: Once you hear about Yael Cohen, 25, you're probably going to feel a little lazy. In 2009, after watching her mother recover from breast cancer surgery Cohen heard the phrase "F Cancer" in passing, except it really stuck with her. "It's just a sentence, but the sentiment is so natural and brave at the same time," she told us at a visit to the FITNESS offices last week. In witnessing her mother's experience with cancer she was shocked to find out that 90 percent of cancers are curable if caught in Stage 1. So she set out to found FCancer, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating Generation Y to learn and teach their parents about early detection. You read that right, the kids teach the parents this time around. "All kids think they know more than their parents," said Cohen, "and with our site we give them the tools so that in this instance, they actually do."
Cohen's site, letsfcancer.com uses social media (which 99.9 percent of Gen-Yers are already on) to spread their digital campaigns like The Cancer Talk, where celebrities from Sophia Bush to Adrian Grenier made YouTube videos of their experiences of having The Sex Talk with their parents, how to give your parents The Cancer Talk and the importance of early detection.
Gen-Yers will also find resources on the site for them too, including a cheat sheet of all the different types of cancer, tips on what to take to the hospital if you or you parents are scheduled for surgery and how to communicate with someone diagnosed. (Hint: It's more a "Can I pick up some groceries for you?" and less, "I'm so sorry, how are you?") Cohen even publishes the company's budget on the site, so you know exactly where your funds are going, making her organization a lot more transparent than other non-profits.
When it comes to a healthy lifestyle, Cohen makes sure her staffers practice what they preach. "There is a rule in office. If you're on your third cup of coffee of the day, ditch it and go get some exercise," she said. "We're trying to get our generation healthier in a realistic way. If you're addicted to soda, we know you aren't going to go straight to water, but you might go to juice and then water, so we provide easy steps to make the diet and lifestyle changes you need for a healthier future."
To donate, volunteer or get more information about FCancer, visit letsfcancer.com.