• Refocus the Lens

    In August, we introduced a new expressive arts series, Refocus the Lens.  Members of 13thirty Cancer Connect submitted a photo that reminded them of the time when they were diagnosed with cancer. Some photos reflected one of the last moments when cancer was not on their minds.  They may have been going off to college….

    refocus the lens
    Lucas, 21

    …or striking a pose as a dance major…

    refocus the lens
    Kara, 19

    …or just being a teen hanging out with your friends.

    refocus the lens
    Alyssa, 19

    For others, the photos represented the shock of diagnosis, or the interruption of life. Erma (17) was enjoying her senior year of high school when finding out she would need months of inpatient treatment.

    refocus the lens

    Riley (21) beat cancer once and was a photography major in college upon being diagnosed once again.

    refocus the lens
    See more of Riley’s work on Facebook at Riley Murray.

    Being an adolescent or young adult (AYA) is already a difficult time, without adding cancer to the mix. AYAs with cancer face challenges specific to this age with regard to social connections, independence, appearance changes, and school or career goals. At 13thirty Cancer connect, our members know what it’s like to cope with these unique challenges and they find support in one another. In this time of COVID-19, connecting remotely poses a new set of challenges but sharing the experience of AYA cancer with others who understand helps to break those barriers.

    Join us on September 21st, 2020 at 6:30 EDT on Zoom for the second program in the Refocus the Lens series when we will share photos reflecting treatment.


  • back to school

    Back to School

    It’s that time of year again! Returning to school will definitely be different this year, but there’s one thing that remains the same- there are tons of scholarship opportunities. There’s a common misconception that you have to have stellar grades to receive a scholarship. While there are many academic scholarships available, there’s plenty out there based on financial need, race, gender, academic programs, athletics, study abroad programs, and even cancer experience. Some are specifically for childhood cancer, young adult cancer, or specific types of cancer. Scholarships that are for students affected by cancer typically require a written statement or essay about how cancer has impacted your life, recommendations, and a note from a physician to confirm your diagnosis.

    Remember, most scholarships have specific application deadlines. If you miss the deadline, keep it bookmarked and apply the following semester or year. Some scholarships have rolling deadlines, so you have the opportunity to apply all year long, but early applicants have better chances of being awarded funds.

    Need tips on writing a scholarship essay? Check out SCHOLLY’s “Hot Tips for Writing a Winning Scholarship Essay” for guidance. Once you get those scholarships, be sure to send a thank you letter! Find examples here.

    Scholarship Links:


    ($5,000) Cameron Siemers Foundation For Hope

    ($2,500) Baron & Budd

    (Varies) Scott Delgadillo College Scholarship

    (Varies) Kay/Moore Scholarship Fund

    ($10,000) Bristol-Myers Squib Scholarship for Cancer Survivors

    (Varies) NCCF Survivor Scholarship Program

    (2,000) Children’s Cancer Cause


    Specific Eligibility

    (Varies) Cancer Survivors’ Fundoffers financial aid to those needing prosthetics following cancer

    ($250 – $4,000) Cancer for Collegeoffers college scholarships to amputees and cancer survivors

    ($2,500) Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adultsprovides a scholarship to young adults who were diagnosed or treated for cancer at age 15 years or older

    ($2,500) Matt Stauffer Memorial Scholarshipoffers $2500 to college students currently fighting cancer or who were diagnosed and treated after the age of 15

    ($2,000 – $3,000) Michael A. Hunter Memorial Scholarship: offers an annual scholarship of between $2000 and $3000 to those affected by leukemia or lymphoma

    (Varies) Nicki Leach Foundation: offers financial assistance to those who were diagnosed and treated for cancer between the ages of 18 and 30 years old

    ($3,000) Patient Advocate Foundation Scholarships for Survivoroffers scholarships for cancer survivors under the age of 25 and diagnosed within the past five years

    ($1,000 – $6,000) Tim & Tom Gullikson Family Support Fund: must be diagnosed with a primary malignant or non-malignant brain or spinal cord tumor prior to age 19

    (Varies) Jackie Spellman Scholarship Foundationprovides scholarships to deserving students whose lives have been impacted by leukemia and lymphoma

    ($1,000) The John Foy & Associates Strong Arm Leukemia Scholarshipscholarship will be awarded to one college student who has battled leukemia or whose life has been affected by it

    (Varies) Bone Marrow & Cancer Foundationstudent must have undergone a transplant and demonstrates financial need

    ($500) The Izzy Foundation: diagnosed before the age of 18 with pediatric cancer


    Scholarship Search Engines

    Scholarships.com: Cancer Patient/Survivor (or Child of) Scholarships

    Cappex.com: Cancer Scholarships

    ACCO.org: Financial Aid for Students








  • Parent Fit – Parents

    parent fit

    We loved bringing 13thirty Parents together for Parent Fit last month. Stay active and join us again this month with Syracuse trainer, Michelle.

  • Message Stick – AYAs

    message sticks

    Make a message stick with supplies around the house like: a stick from outside, string, pipe cleaners, spare change, paint, or beads. The list goes on!

  • 13thirty Fit! – AYAs

    13thirty Fit!

    Our Rochester trainer, Brianne, will lead 13thirty AYAs through a workout session of 13thirty Fit! Workout at home or join us from your backyard.

  • Game Night – AYAs

    Make new connections with 13thirty members at the next game night. Let’s have another night full of laughs!

  • Yoga – Families

    Join us for a relaxing guided yoga session to reduce stress. Follow along at home while our instructor helps us through different poses.

  • 13thirty programs

    13thirty Programs: Wellness, Arts, and of course, Fun!

    At 13thirty Cancer Connect, we host a variety of programs for our members and their parents. Offering regular programs helps address the unique challenges that AYA cancer can present. We try and tackle these challenges together through three program categories: wellness, arts, and social.

    Our wellness programs, focused on both nutrition and fitness, addresses healthier eating and getting back into shape following treatment. Last month we returned to 13thirty Fit! for both our AYAs and their parents. This month, we have a different kind of workout program; we’ll be led through a yoga class on Zoom!

    Expressive Arts
    Whether we’re painting Bandana Bolt medals, writing poetry, or practicing a performance for Journey’s, at 13thirty the work our AYAs do is incredible! Their compassion shines through as they share their stories with one another through their artwork, poetry, music, and more! This month we made Father’s Day cards to follow last month’s Mother’s Day cards.

    Getting to know other teens and young adults who understand the cancer experience is what 13thirty Cancer Connect is all about. Our Zoom game nights and happy hours are becoming hits and we will keep up the laughs and connections next month.

    Wondering who can come to programs at the center and virtually on Zoom? 13thirty Cancer Connect programs are always free and we encourage members to bring a sibling or friend in the 13-30 age range. It may be eye opening to learn about the medical, physical, social, and emotional challenges facing our AYAs.  Keep an eye out for our monthly program calendar. You can find it on both the Rochester and Syracuse program pages, as well as on the site calendar with our other events.

  • Father’s Day Craft – AYAs

    father's day
    Let’s make a Father’s Day craft together virtually. Come prepared with a few pieces of paper and colored pencils.

  • A Great Day for the Bandana Bolt

    “The National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation defines a survivor as anyone living with a history of cancer – from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life.”

    This year we celebrated our 8th annual Bandana Bolt the same day as the 33rd National Cancer Survivors Day. Our hearts at 13thirty Cancer Connect were warmed by the overwhelming virtual participation in this year’s Bandana Bolt 5k run/walk. We had participation all over the country, from coast to coast celebrating cancer survivors everywhere.

    “Fun Facts” about the Bandana Bolt 5K:

    • Bandanas are often worn by AYAs in treatment, hence the name – Bandana Bolt!
    • Although held virtually, 2020 was the 8th Annual Race. 2013 was our first year and we haven’t stopped running since!
    • The Rochester race is always held at Seneca Park.
    • The first few years the race was held in the fall, the morning right after Journeys!
    • With the exception of the 2020 design, the bandana design is typically a snapshot of a piece of work from NYC based artist and one of Melissa’s brothers, Mark Sengbusch. One of her other brother’s Matthew, helps us with the graphic design.
    • Every year, our AYAs create handmade custom butterfly medals for our race winners (due to COVID-19, we missed the tradition this year!)
    • The 1st Annual Bandana Bolt 5K – Syracuse will be held on Sunday, October 4th at Green Lakes Park. Fingers crossed!

    Not only does the Bandana Bolt help 13thirty Cancer Connect support our AYAs living with cancer, it raises nationwide awareness on their behalf. There’s no “good” time to have cancer, but being an AYA living with cancer is particularly challenging. AYAs are caught in the gap between pediatric and adult medicine and have seen little improvement in survival rates compared to other groups. Being separated from their peers and dealing with a diminished self-image presents unique challenges for AYAs. Read more about how 13thirty Cancer Connect advocates for AYAs living with cancer.

    Can’t get enough of this year’s Bandana Bolt? Check out our Facebook page for more photos.

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