13thirty Cancer Connect Inc. on Monday began its 20th anniversary year with an annual tradition that began in its founder’s kitchen: a pancake breakfast.
“Twenty years ago I made a promise to my daughter, Melissa, to make a difference, make things better for other teens and young adults facing a cancer diagnosis,” 13thirty Founder and Executive Director Lauren Spiker said in a statement. “Back then, people weren’t paying attention to the unique needs of the teen and young adult cancer population. While the rest of the world has started to catch up, the mission of 13thirty Cancer Connect has always been and will always be to help teens and young adults with cancer live their very best lives today.”
The annual pancake breakfast was among the first programs offered by the organization, then called Melissa’s Living Legacy Teen Cancer Foundation. As part of the annual tradition, members of 13thirty gathered at the organization’s Elmwood Avenue location to enjoy breakfast with local dignitaries including U.S. Rep. Joseph Morelle, Sen. Joseph Robach, R-Greece and Sen. Rich Funke, R-Fairport.
“I am so thankful for organizations like 13thirty Cancer Connect that provide indispensable services to young people and their families as they battle cancer,” Morelle said. “Unfortunately, I know all too well the devastating impact that cancer can have on a family, but the support and hope provided by organizations like 13thirty help families like mine get through impossibly difficult times.”
Since its founding, 13thirty has become an internationally known leader in the field of adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer. It was founded as a grassroots effort to offer peer support programs for teens, young adults and their parents. The organization opened a facility in Syracuse last year.
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