Reflections from a friend of the Young Leadership Council

Alyson Maugeri with her mother

I remember every little detail of that cool and crisp October morning—what I was eating, what I was wearing when my mom broke the news.  She had gone in for a routine check-up and the doctor noticed something on her face.  She had gone to a specialist a week after her doctor’s appointment without telling anyone—even my father—and my mom was told she had skin cancer.

I could not hear another word after she said it.  I was shocked, surprised, confused, and sad all at once.  All I could think of was my childhood friend who had lost her battle with leukemia, all the members of my best friend’s family who had dealt with skin cancer various times throughout their lives, and images of sick and dying people.  I did not know much about cancer, but I knew it cost people their lives.  I did not want to lose my mother.

Luckily, the doctors caught the cancer in my mom very early, she underwent a relatively simple procedure, and (fingers crossed) she has been cancer free since.  But some people are not as lucky as my mom  and that is why organizations like the Cancer Support Community (CSC) are so very important.

CSC helps individuals like myself learn about the disease when we receive the news that a close friend or family member has cancer.  CSC provides emotional support to the “silent victims” of cancer—friends and family of the patient with cancer, who spend much of their daily energy supporting their loved one.  That is why it is so important that we give our time, money and support to organizations like the Cancer Support Community and why I do so through my work with the Young Leadership Council and by supporting the Red Ball.  I only wish I had heard of such an organization on that terrible October morning.

About Young Leadership Council

The mission of the Young Leadership Council (YLC), a group of young professionals, is to represent a new generation of leaders who are advancing the cause of social and emotional support for people living with cancer by raising awareness and organizing philanthropic initiatives to benefit the Cancer Support Community. The YLC is tasked with ensuring that the support for the Cancer Support Community continues. It was established in 2004 by GCWW Board Member Evan Berkley, who lost his father to cancer at age 19 and subsequently created the Be a Buddy Foundation to improve the lives of people living with cancer. YLC members work in the fields of film, television, marketing, entertainment law, corporate law, finance, and publishing. Since the group's inaugural event in September 2005, the YLC has successfully raised over $850,000 and brought the mission of Gilda's Club, and now the Cancer Support Community, to hundreds of new friends.

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