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  • 20 Years Making a Difference!

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    20 Years of Making a Difference in 2020

    At the 13thirty Cancer Connect Rochester center we kicked off our celebration of 20 years at our annual pancake breakfast! This annual tradition took on a much larger meaning this year.  This year 13thirty Cancer Connect marks its 20 years of changing the landscape for teens and young adults with cancer.

    “Twenty years ago I made a promise to my daughter, Melissa, ‘to make a difference, make things better’ for other teens and young adults facing a cancer diagnosis. Twenty years ago the world was not paying attention to the unique needs of the teen and young adult cancer population. While the rest of the world has started to catch up, the mission of 13thirty Cancer Connect has always been, and will always be, to help teens and young adults with cancer live their very best lives – today.” 

    -Lauren Spiker, 13thirty Founder & Executive Director

    Since our beginning 20 years ago (first called Melissa’s Living Legacy Teen Cancer Foundation), 13thirty Cancer Connect has become an internationally known and respected leader in the field of adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer with strong passion, clear vision, and steadfast commitment to a singular focus – teens and young adults with cancer. Started as a grass-roots effort twenty years ago, peer support programs for teens, young adults and their parents are offered at the 13thirty Center in Rochester and as of July 2019, also in the Syracuse community.

    20th year celebrations will be held all year long for both community members and 13thirty families. Some of our signature events include the 8th Annual Bandana Bolt 5K on Sunday, June 7th at Seneca Park and Journeys, the 19th Annual Celebration of Living on Saturday, November 7th at Temple B’rith Kodesh.

    Follow 13thirty Cancer Connect on social media and at to keep up with our celebrations throughout the year!

    20 years

    Thank you to Congressman Joe Morelle NYS Senators Joe Robach and Rich Funke, and Corinda Crossdale, Monroe County who kicked off our 20th year celebration with our teens and young adults on Monday, January 20, 2020.

    To see a full press release of our kick off event, please click here. Check out the news coverage of the event.

What is AYA Cancer?

Each year in the United States approximately 82,000 adolescent and young adults (AYAs) put their dreams on hold while enduring debilitating treatment for cancer in a healthcare environment that does not adequately address their unique and difficult challenges. Learn More

Goin' Bald for Bucks

Help make a difference! Go Bald for Bucks by shaving your head or donating a minimum of 8" of long hair. Learn more here.

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Melissa's Story

13thirty was inspired by a teen named Melissa who knew how to live - even with cancer. Learn More

If you have learned anything from me through all of this, do something with it to make a difference – to make things better.

— Melissa Sengbusch