The SAMFund’s Alumni Leadership Council (ALC) is comprised of past grant recipients committed to paying it forward for other young adult survivors. They are actively engaged in The SAMFund’s fundraising and outreach efforts across the country. We are lucky to have them!
At the age of 30, Erin was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Within a nine month period, she underwent countless rounds of chemotherapy, full body radiation treatment and two bone marrow transplants. After completing her treatment she returned to work and received an MBA from Northeastern University. Ms. McCabe is licensed as a Certified General Commercial real estate appraiser and is currently the Massachusetts Deputy Director of Finance and Operations for the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. Erin is extremely grateful for her survival and volunteers as a patient advisor at the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston where she was treated. She lives in Dorchester, Massachusetts with her fiancé Bill and they plan to wed in June 2015.
Kate is a 30-year old survivor of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After receiving a SAMFund grant in 2008, she began volunteering immediately and has grown into a leadership role within the organization. Among the things that her grant provided was a new computer, which she credits with helping her develop her professional skills and succeed in school. She graduated from Columbia College with a BFA and now works in graphic and web design. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and twin girls. Of her involvement as an Alumni Leader, she writes, “I am living proof of the effect the grants have on young adults, so I want to continue to give back to help people who are in the shoes I once was in. My grant did so much for me and I am forever thankful. I will never forget the impact it had on me and I want to give that impact and help to others.”
Kyle is a 31-year old survivor of Rhabdomyosarcoma. Receiving a SAMFund grant in 2010 to help with his rent enabled him to catch his breath, focus on his graduate studies and use his limited resources to get health insurance. After graduating with honors from Tufts University, he was able to pursue a career in urban planning. He writes, “As a young adult survivor we are often overlooked through treatment and after treatment. Everyone thinks that we are young and resilient, but that resilience often only goes so far. Getting healthy costs money, and it is more than any young adult can bear on their own. We can’t solve every problem for our young adult survivors, but we can give them hope, and provide them with small grants that can get them back on their feet.”
Valerie is a 33-year old survivor of Aplastic Anemia. She received a SAMFund grant in 2008 to help with her medical bills, which allowed her to reallocate her own resources and get herself out of medical debt entirely. She earned an MBA from UCLA Anderson in 2013 and now works in the field of Healthcare Operations. She says, “Young adult cancer survivors are a particularly vulnerable population, typically having no established savings and sometimes little headway in their careers. There is no other organization in the country dedicated to helping young adult survivors in this way. I chose to become part of the ALC because I realize that the need didn’t stop with me. The need is greater than ever.”