Yael Cohen: ‘We are the generation that can change the world’
Yael Cohen recounted on Thursday at Big Omaha how her mom's fight with cancer gave birth to F Cancer.
Yael Cohen is on a mission to F--- Cancer, and based on this afternoon's talk at KANEKO during the first day of Big Omaha 2012, she'll be tough to stop. Cohen is the founder and president of F--- Cancer, a movement that is working to make a real impact in the fight against cancer.
F--- Cancer was founded in 2010 and strives to activate Generation Y to engage with their parents about early detection and teach supporters how to look for cancer instead of just finding it. Cohen used her Big Omaha talk to tell her story and share some key lessons from her non-profit work.
Cancer is close to home
Three years ago Cohen was working for a publicly traded resource company when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. At the moment she learned her mother's diagnosis, Cohen's life changed. "There was no intention of starting a charity," Cohen said, "but I didn't have an option." This was the moment that F--- Cancer was born.
Early detection is key
One of the first facts that Cohen shared with the audience was that 90 percent of all cancer caught in Stage I is curable. "Are you serious? 90 percent!" Cohen said as she recalled the first time she read that statistic.
Because of that, a core component of F--- Cancer is emphasizing early detection. "If I could teach you a single thing in your life," Cohen said she often tells people, "it was how to look for cancer."
We are the generation
One aspect that is tightly woven into the mission of F--- Cancer is its target audience of the youth, or what is also often called Generation C — the "connected generation." "We are the generation that can change the world," Cohen said. "Today, a 14-year-old in Alabama, because of Facebook and Twitter, has the same reach that Martin Luther King Jr. did."
With this goal in mind, F--- Cancer is calculated about how it reaches its target audience. "If you want to talk to the youth, you have to go where they are — online," Cohen said. "You have to speak their language, which is humor, wit and edge."
It was clear from the crowd's reaction that Cohen's story and mission resonated at Big Omaha. She finished her talk with three key lessons learned:
- Learn to say no. "It is the hardest thing I've learned," she said, "but most of the time you should be saying no."
- Know how to answer why.
- Get ready to belong to what you're building.
For real-time coverage of Big Omaha on Thursday and Friday, including a live stream of all 14 speakers, visit siliconprairienews.com/live.
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