• Thank you to our 2019 Sponsors!

    We are so grateful for our many sponsors this year! Our 2019 Sponsors made it possible for us to share our mission and benefit even more teens and young adults living with cancer.

    Sponsors Welcome

    Interested in becoming a sponsor? There are still Sponsorships available at the $150, $250, $500, $1,250 and $2,500 level! Email christina@13thirty.org to get involved!


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    Lou Siciliano, CPA



  • We’re expanding to Syracuse!

    Why Syracuse?

    13thirty Cancer Connect’s community-based center in Rochester, NY has been a second home to hundreds of teens and young adults with cancer since 2001. A place so vital for current patients and survivors alike, that a Syracuse teen, Charlie Poole, traveled 95 miles with his mom to meet new friends who understood. Charlie’s love for 13thirty Cancer Connect became the driving force behind our planned expansion to Syracuse. He looked for resources and support for other teens and young adults with cancer in his community but found none. Driving two hours to Rochester was worth the effort to Charlie and his mom but we knew it shouldn’t be so hard. We had to make it easier for others like Charlie.

    Sadly, Charlie died in August 2018 leaving an indelible mark on our hearts and a sense of urgency to act on our dreams. Five years ago, another beloved 13thirty friend died. Hannah Metzler, like Charlie, was only 17. After Hannah’s death, 13thirty earmarked the generous gifts given in her honor for our first expansion site. Donations in Charlie’s honor were earmarked for the same ambitious goal.

    Why Now?

    82,000 teens and young adults ages 13-30 are diagnosed with cancer in the United States each year. Like Charlie and Hannah, they need 13thirty Cancer Connect in their community. With the support of many 13thirty Champions, we are now able to confidently begin serving Syracuse teens and young adults at our new 13thirty Cancer Connect center dedicated to Hannah and Charlie, and we can’t wait to get started.

    Why Not?

    Please join us at our Syracuse Grand Opening as we continue to “make a difference, make things better.”

    13thirty Syracuse Grand Opening Media Advisory

  • 2017 was a fantastic year at 13thirty Cancer Connect!

  • Hashtags: All About AYA Cancer!

    Our new video podcast series is up and running on our Youtube channel! 

    “Hashtags: All About AYA Cancer!” seeks to inform, share, and inspire those who have been recently diagnosed, those who are years out of treatment, and friends and family who don’t quite know how to react or treat a teen or young adult impacted by cancer.

    Our hosts, 13thirty Program Coordinator, Steve Esposito, and Communications Coordinator and young adult survivor, Sabrina Gauer, have gathered stories, interviews, and video footage to share with viewers about the underserved and largely unrecognized population of cancer patients and survivors.

    Whether it’s touring the 13thirty office, filling you in on events here at the Center, talking to a teen or young adult about their experiences, or getting feedback from medical professionals and healthcare specialists, Steve and Sabrina are here to answer your questions and keep you informed about AYA (adolescent and young adult) cancer! Keep up with “Hashtags: All About AYA Cancer!” on our Youtube channel!

  • Journeys 2016 – RSVP Now!

    15th Annual Celebration of Living

    October 15th, 2016 6:00PM
    Temple B’rith Kodesh
    2131 Elmwood Ave
    Rochester, NY 14618

    Please join us!
    Silent Auction, Raffles, Wine Pull, Cocktails, Music Dinner and Dessert

    Make a Difference Award 
    Dr. Amy Parkhill, St. John Fisher College 

    Corporate Sponsor Salute
    Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield

    The Faces Behind the Masks Our 13thirty teens and young adults reveal the real faces and stories that cancer often masks. You’ll be inspired!

    Purchase Tickets

    Single Ticket: $75


    Table of Eight: $520  


    Sponsor a Teen Family: $225  


    Contact info@13thirty.org or call (585) 563-6221 for more information.

  • The Paradox of Cancer


    Funny how people find themselves together. Families are tied together by birth. Neighbors become neighbors by virtue of geographic proximity. Business relationships are born of mutual economic gain. But sometimes, the vagaries of life conspire and cast together people whose paths may never have crossed otherwise.

    This happens often in my world and when it does, I’m always struck by how the universe works.

    Last night, at the first annual Bald for Bucks Beard-Off, nine handsome men chose to shave their prized beards – and in a few cases, their heads – to show their support for our teens and young adults with cancer. In a very public way, they stood together and railed against cancer in young people.

    The atmosphere at Lovin’ Cup, a very cool bistro and brew pub, was upbeat, rowdy at times. Good food, craft beers, live music and a bit of thought-provoking poetry created a good vibe. One by one, each man took his seat and the crowd cheered as each beard hit the floor.

    Many in attendance were waiting for the final three – Charlie Cote, John Nichols and Josh Symer. As I, along with the rest of the house, shouted in approval, a familiar feeling settled in my heart making me both happy and sad. Had it not been for cancer, I would never have met these three awesome people. Had Charlie’s son, also named Charlie, not died, the poems he read last night would have been much less poignant and touching. There would have been no tears. Charlie wouldn’t even have been there, no less be our current Board President.

    Because John’s son, Quin, had cancer and thankfully survived, John serves on our Board of Directors with a commitment forged in his own family’s experience, ever grateful that his son is alive but always wary of cancer’s spectre. If not for cancer, John, too, would not have been there.

    And of course, if Melissa hadn’t died, the organization wouldn’t even exist. Josh, our new Special Events Coordinator, would never have had the opportunity to organize the Beard-Off and be compelled to shave his own beard and head because of his passionate belief in our cause. Certainly, he would have been somewhere else.

    Therein lies the paradox. I am blessed to know Charlie, John and Josh and am grateful beyond words for their support and dedication. But I’d give my life to never have met them if it meant Melissa could still be here enriching the world with her gifts. I guess life is like that. Misfortune brought these three men and me together last night but it is my very, very good fortune to know and work with them.






    Charlie Cote, John Nichols, Josh Symer without their beards. View the whole album to see John without his 43 year old moustache and Josh without his hair!


    About the Author

    LaurenLauren Spiker,  Melissa’s mom and Executive Director of 13thirty Cancer Connect.

  • How It All Began

    Whether you are new to 13thirty Cancer Connect, or have been part of the community for a while now, get a new perspective and learn about its start and what we do for the community as a whole.

    In this podcast segment of EdStories, hosted by Michael Zaffuts, Lauren Spiker (Founder and Director of 13thirty), talks about what 13thirty can offer to the community. Hear about what events are coming up, the new features of the center, and what other programs are offered at 13thirty this year. Also, hear part of Melissa’s story and how the organization came to be.

    To hear the podcast visit the EdStories, and to learn more about EdStories and see other available podcasts, you can visit Michael Zaffuts’ website.

  • Grand Opening of new Rochester Center

    Welcome to 13thirty Cancer Connect where teens and now, young adults with cancer ages 13-30 find a new peer community of others with shared experience, others who understand what it’s like to be an adolescent or young adult (AYA) with cancer.

    This past year was one of big changes – new name, new logo, new national office and Rochester Center! We’re still based in Rochester, NY at the Al Sigl Community of Agencies on Elmwood Ave. but we’ve moved to brand new space. Our Rochester AYAs have lots of room to hang out and their parents also have a space all to themselves. We’re lucky to have a full gym in our building for our 13thirty Fit! program, Highland Park right in our back yard, and lots of cool restaurants around the corner in College Town.

    Though much has changed, the most important thing has not – our mission to help teens and young adults with cancer live their very best lives. We are still working each day to keep the promise our founder, Lauren Spiker, made to Melissa before she died – “to make a difference, to make things better.”

    So, if you’re in Rochester, stop in and see Lauren, Josh, Heidi and Mercedes. The coffee is always on! If you’re in Buffalo, give Kelly a call and learn about our Teens Living with Cancer (TLC) program and our awesome partners at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

    For information about becoming a 13thirty Cancer Connect partner, call Lauren at (585) 563-6221. Your teen and young adult patients will thank you!