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Supporting YSC on My 10-Year Cancerversary!

Susan Chao 

Susan Chao

Please donate money to the Young Survival Coalition's Tour de Pink to benefit young patients with breast cancer. I was one of them not too long ago and can vouch that every woman with information and support is a woman who is better prepared to deal with the ordeal ahead.

Have more time to read? Here's the longer spiel ...

It is commonly cited* that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer by the age of 80. The younger the woman is, the lower her risk. For 60-year-olds, it is 1 in 21. For 40-year-olds, it is 1 in 173. And for 20-year-olds, that statistic drops to 1 in 75K.

Just because breast cancer is less prevalent in younger women doesn't mean they are better off. To the contrary, their cancer is typically more aggressive, and their prognosis is grimmer. Indeed, breast cancer patients under the age of 40 have survival rates 39% worse than for those who are older.

Out of the blue ten years ago, I became one of those patients. I thought I was on the right track: healthy vegetarian diet, no smoking, exercise every day, and nursed all three babies. So on that one otherwise perfect spring day when I got my biopsy results while parked at our 4-year-old’s preschool, I knew my life was about to change in ways for which I was woefully unprepared.

Thankfully, we had caught it "early", but like with so many other young patients, the cancer was aggressive. Bad luck, bad genes, whatever you want to blame ... the fact was that I now had a problem that screamed to be dealt with immediately. Yet the reality was that our healthcare system moves more slowly than we might like, and the wait for surgery stretched out two months. No matter, this was the perfect time for me to start preparing in other critical ways: to get informed, get organized, and get support.

Fortunately, I had some key things going for me. I had health insurance, education, and strong family and community ties. I forced my mommy brain to turn back into technical brain so that I could dissect research papers on the latest treatments for my kind of breast cancer. I reached out to our network of family and friends and blogged about struggles and progress (, and they responded back with warmth and generosity. They took on some of our responsibilities so we could concentrate on getting me treated. They also openly shared their own cancer stories, providing a glimpse of the unknown road ahead.

Not every patient is as lucky as I was, but that's where Young Survival Coalition comes in. YSC offers resources, connections and outreach so women feel supported, empowered and hopeful. It's the only national nonprofit that solely focuses on serving young women under the age of 40 affected by breast cancer. YSC serves over 8,000 women each year with support and education to be their best health advocate throughout all stages of breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, and long-term survivorship.

Active treatment ended up taking a year and a half. Just before the first surgery, I purchased my first road bike as part of a grand plan to stay active during the cancer journey. Throughout surgeries, chemo, and targeted treatment, I managed to keep moving - whether on the bike, in the pool, or just by slowly putting one foot in front of the other. It paid off, through shortened surgery recovery times, reduced chemo side effects, and elevated mood. Even more critically, regular exercise strengthened that muscle worn down by cancer: resilience.

Fast forward ten years and I still bike, swim, do Pilates, and/or walk almost every day. The single road bike has become two. And hallelujah for remission (knock on wood). So it seems fitting to express gratitude for good health and all of the support I received along my wild cancer ride by participating in the YSC Tour de Pink metric century (62 mile) bike ride.

The TdP is many things to many people. To me, it is a time for me to thank my body for (finally) cooperating, to meditate in solidarity with those I know in the midst of their own cancer challenges, and to indirectly assist young breast cancer patients navigating their new cancer journeys.

Cancer can be a very isolating disease, and especially so for a young woman who may still be finishing her education, starting a career, and building her romantic and family life. YSC’s supportive services include: in-person support groups around the country, online video support groups, one-on-one peer mentoring, creation and distribution of free educational materials for survivors, co-survivors and healthcare providers, a training program for survivors to amplify the need for expanded research and advocacy, and an annual conference called the YSC Summit. You can read more about YSC here:

For someone with arthritic joints who used to think that jogging a mile was a big deal, 62 miles can look pretty audacious ... until you remember what cancer patients wake up and do every single day.

I invite you to join me on this particular journey by donating to YSC. Together we can provide young breast cancer patients with the resources to get informed, get organized, and get support.

Thank you for your consideration and best wishes for good health,


P.S. Fun fact: YSC is an anagram of my initials SYC, so it could be a monogram!


How will your donation help?

$25 could fund YSC materials at three healthcare providers’ offices.

$100 could provide a Newly Diagnosed Navigator to six women when they need it most.

$250 could allow us to train four survivors to serve as a peer supporters.

$500 could fund a survivor advocate in our RISE training program

$1,200 could pay for two young women to travel to the YSC Summit, an annual conference for young women affected by breast cancer and their co-survivors.

Any amount helps!

Thank you in advance for your support. I truly appreciate your generosity.



raised of $2,000 goal

Recent Donations

1. Charlotte Camilie Pilgrim
You are a beacon of hope for women. Have a great ride!
2. David Chao
3. Anonymous
4. Gabrael Levine
5. Sylvia Chao
6. Anonymous
Happy birthday Susan! Hope you will have another very healthy year!
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