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Yael Cohen

The brazenly defiant name Yael Cohen gave her organization perfectly encapsulates her conviction that most cancers, when caught early, are curable. Fuck Cancer pushes young people to get their parents screened early and often to detect cancer before it’s too late.

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Yael Cohen
“Cancer’s no longer a fatal disease, it’s a chronic disease – and that’s a pretty exciting thought.”

​Yael Cohen has “built a platform of early detection” at Fuck Cancer using “new technology, humor and celebrity.” As a result, Yael says, “We’ve gotten kids talking about something that’s not only uncomfortable but just really not in their realm of our day-to-day discussion. It’s a conversation that we’ve been lacking for far too long.” But opening that dialogue can be a transformative moment where the participants are, “uniquely positioned to make a huge and real change.” In addition, “We’re layering on prevention and communication and really rounding out this unbelievable community and building assets for our supporters — that aren’t campaigns. They can have longevity.”

It’s surprising that the fact that “Ninety percent of cancers are curable in stage one” isn’t common knowledge — yet. But for Yael, learning that piece of information “fundamentally shifted my perspective.” The ability to be “actively looking for it and finding it when it’s most curable — that was a really positive thought. It was really exciting to learn there’s so much I can control when it comes to cancer.”

Yael expresses excitement that the technology today can have such an immediate effect, stating that, “for the first time in history, our generation can change their world with a few clicks of the mouse — they can send a message around the world in a matter of minutes.” That power has “the potential to be harnessed or tapped into when it comes to a huge issue like cancer.”

The organization grew from a T-shirt emblazoned with the phrase Fuck Cancer that Yael had created for her mom and herself. She says, “I wouldn’t want her to have to go through that alone.” The T-shirts resonated with a lot of cancer survivors, so much so that it eventually grew into a small business. Not long after, Yael expanded the business into something even more useful to her community. She says, “The resources that I wish we’d had — I want to build those so that other people don’t have to look for them.” With a fresh round of supporters and funding, Yael anticipates this to be one of their best years, expanding those resources and their reach.