The EPIC Brands has partnered with The We Believe Foundation (WBF) to help the 74,000 teens and young adults within the cheerleading community and beyond who will hear the words “You have cancer” this year. When EPIC learned that a huge factor of deaths caused by cancer in this age group are due to late detection as a result of lack of awareness, they decided to lend a hand to the cause, spreading the word via their mascot, Surfy the Spirit Shark! Surfy’s mission is to help The We Believe Foundation to celebrate these young warriors, to replace the fear and stigma with education and awareness, and to provide financial support to teens and young adults affected by cancer.
We chose to help WBF because of their direct relationships with the teens and young adults who have been diagnosed with all forms of cancer. Supporters often give to organizations and don’t know what happens with the donations, but at WBF, they can see the faces of those that receive their help. WBF also encourage these warriors to give back by sharing their stories, so they can teach their peers to be aware of the possibility of cancer at a young age, and society eventually can see a reduction in late detection of cancers such as melanoma, breast cancer, testicular cancer, sarcomas, and lymphomas occurring in teens and young adults. These lessons, however, go beyond awareness- on to inspiration.
A particularly inspiring story is by a 15-year-old Maryland girl named Courtney, depicted right. She was a competitive gymnast, when one day at practice she fell and twisted her ankle. In the process of doctors addressing her ankle, she was given a MRI of her brain, which unveiled the true reason for her fall- a rare brain tumor. At 14, Courtney was diagnosed with Anaplastic Astrocytoma, and she underwent immediate surgery that unfortunately damaged her left arm and leg, but allowed her to live. She then went through chemotherapy and radiation several times, spending 2010 battling her illness and attempting to return to her normal life of hanging out with her friends, doing her hair (actually she was excited just to have hair!), and going back to school. In 2011, these simple everyday activities became realities for her. Courtney’s positive spirit and attitude were unstoppable, and that continues for her today. With the help of her physical therapist, her goal to run again is getting closer every day. Journeys like Courtney’s tell us to appreciate the ability to compete as a healthy athlete, and that a healthy day deserves 110% presence and effort.
It is imperative that you, the young athletes, take care of yourselves, and this begins with an attitude in your early years! Please join the EPIC Brands and We Believe Foundation in raising awareness by cheering in honor of someone affected by cancer this year! To find out how to help with the We Believe Foundation, please visit http://www.MillerStrong.com!!