• laurel

    Meet Laurel

    Laurel Simer came to the 13thirty Cancer Connect Syracuse Center for a special visit earlier this month. Representing the Utica College Women’s Hockey Team, Laurel brought a generous donation raised by auctioning team jerseys as a part of their Gold Ribbon game. Read more about the fund raiser here. She also shared with us a little about her own journey with cancer.

    Meet Laurel - AYA Living with Cancer

    Laurel's Cancer Journey


    Laurel's Visit to 13thirty

     

    DIPG – A Rare Brain Cancer

    DIPG is very rare and most people had never heard of it until someone close to them was diagnosed. I think a lot of people hear about cancer and know that its bad. When you can put a face to it and show that this could happen to anyone—your friend, your coworker, your teammate– it makes it personal so it helps people learn about it more and care about it more. Some of my friends have shirts that say “DIPG Warrior Laurel” on them. Some even wear them whenever they travel somewhere, hoping that someone will ask about it so that they can tell my story and tell them about DIPG and help raise awareness that way.

    When I was playing at UC, Coach Clausen instilled in us the importance of being involved in our local community and giving back whenever and however we could. This is still a major value of the team today and I’m just so happy that they continue to spread awareness and hold this game each year.

    Why 13thirty Cancer Connect

    I learned about 13thirty from Charlie Poole and his family. He was also diagnosed with DIPG. I was finally able to meet Charlie and his parents in person in May, 2017 and it was great, they are awesome people. I hate the reason that we met, but I am very grateful that I know them. Although he has since passed away, I feel like Charlie and I shared a lot of the same feelings towards our cancer and being older than most people who get it (The typical age of children diagnosed is 5-10). We both understood the importance of raising awareness and helping out the kids however we could.

    13thirty seemed like a place that would be really beneficial for a lot of people. I actually wish that I had had something like it when I was a teenager. Charlie had also come to one of the gold ribbon games a few years ago so I thought this could be a perfect fit.

    What inspires hope in you?

    I have great friends who have been very supportive of me. Some of my close friends, they know that I still get nervous before a doctor’s appointment, I still worry about what my tests will show, but they are my rock sometimes and they are always there encouraging me when I need it. Just seeing the research that has been done recently– they have learned more in the past 5-10 years than they learned in 20 years before that. I think doctors and researchers are coming a long way, and they are making advances, and it just shows the importance of raising awareness. Because raising awareness and telling your story leads to funding, funding leads to research, and research will eventually lead to a cure.

  • Noodle Night

    Syracuse Program – AYAs and Parents – Make your own healthy bowl of ramen noodle soup with fresh ingredients. All food provided, just bring an appetite! Cooking instruction will be led by Dr. Kaushal Nanavati from Upstate University Hospital.

  • 13thirty Parent Fit!

    13thirty Fit!Syracuse Program – Parents – The 8th week of 13thirty Parent Fit! is finally here! Our trainer, Michelle, will help us finish strong these last two weeks. Spouses and partners welcome! 13thirty Parent Fit! Syracuse has recently been opened up to parents of kids with cancer of any age – children, teens, and young adults.

  • 13thirty Open Mic

    open mic

    Syracuse Event – Open Event – Visit the 13thirty Cancer Connect Syracuse Center every second Monday of the month for 13thirty Open Mic Night. This is a free event open to the public where we host comedy, music, poetry and more! Performers and spectators are welcome to attend and bring friends. Both groups and individuals are encouraged to share their talents. Refreshments are available for purchase. Find directions to the Syracuse Center here.

  • 13thirty Fit!

    13thirty Fit!

    Program of the Month

    13thirty Fit!

    Every Wednesday for the last four weeks, parents of our teens and young adults have met at our Syracuse center for 13thirty Fit!, an eight-week program designed to help develop healthy workout habits easy enough to do at home without expensive equipment or gym fees. The program, led by our oncology-certified fitness coach, Michelle Dougan, from Elevate Fitness, includes personal goal setting and an hour-long workout each week. Everyone’s favorite songs from the 80’s keep us moving!

    On our third week, we shook things up in Syracuse and invited parents to bring their kids to the program that night. Partner workouts proved to be just as challenging and even more fun than our usual workout routines. A little friendly competition between our parents and kids made us try even harder! Like all 13thirty Cancer Connect programs, peer support is an important element of our fitness programs. Working out with someone can motivate you to work out more often and stay accountable to your goals.

     

    13thirty Fit! History

    13thirty Fit! has been offered at our Rochester center to AYA members and parents since 2012 when it was first designed as part of a research study at the University of Rochester School of Medicine. The goal was simple and still the same: help AYAs regain their former level of fitness and self-confidence in a safe, judgement-free environment. In both Rochester and Syracuse, 13thirty Fit! is held in our warm, comfortable center with friends who understand what it’s like and fitness coaches who can modify exercises to accommodate individual needs.

    Assessment data collected from participants before and after each program consistently point to improved functional fitness and enhanced self-efficacy. Periodic “Quick Fit” sessions held throughout the year supplement the eight-week program and help remind members to keep working on their fitness goals.

    Work out with us again!

    Remember, the Syracuse fitness room is available for individual workouts during regular office hours for both AYAs and parents! Just bring your signed medical release form and call Megan ahead of time at (315) 883-1862. Here’s how to find us! Find out what else is going on in Syracuse here.

    Interested in 13thirty Fit! – Rochester? Contact Rochester Program Director, Steve Esposito, for more information at 595-563-6221 or visit us!

  • We’re expanding to Syracuse!

    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 for nearly twenty years. 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. So Charlie and his mom drove all the way to Rochester to attend programs. We knew it shouldn’t be so hard and 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. The 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. Support from our 13thirty Champions helped us to confidently begin serving Syracuse teens and young adults at our new 13thirty Cancer Connect center dedicated to Hannah and Charlie.

    Why Not?

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

    13thirty Syracuse Grand Opening Media Advisory

    Keep up with the now open Syracuse center by reading the Syracuse Scoop or checking out our ongoing programs. Or stop by and pay us a visit! Get directions here.