History & Mission

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


These words spoken by a dying 19 year old girl to her mother just days before her death became her last request and her lasting legacy for all teens with cancer, and inspired the establishment of 13thirty Cancer Connect, Inc., initially named Melissa’s Living Legacy Teen Cancer Foundation.


13thirty Cancer Connect, Inc. is a registered 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization established in 2001 following the death of Melissa Sengbusch who was 19 years old when she died of acute myeloid leukemia. Since its beginning (first called Melissa’s Living Legacy Teen Cancer Foundation), 13thirty has become an internationally known and respected leader in the field of adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer because of our strong passion, clear vision, and steadfast commitment to a singular focus – teens and young adults with cancer.

Unlike many other cancer support organizations, we concentrate our efforts and resources on a targeted national problem that affects approximately 82,000 young people in the United States each year. As Melissa asked of her mom, we are making a difference. We are making things better for teens and young adults with cancer around the world.

Mission, Vision, Values

The MISSION of 13thirty Cancer Connect, Inc. is to help adolescents and young adults (AYAs) impacted by cancer live their very best lives – today!

  • Our resources help AYAs enhance their coping skills and self-esteem by building satisfying peer connections, learning to self-advocate, and developing effective self-management tools for long-term health.
  • A comprehensive continuum of support (from diagnosis and treatment to healthy survivorship or if necessary, end-of-life) helps AYAs with cancer successfully transition through each stage of their cancer experience.
  • We advocate strongly for improved delivery of medical and educational services through clinician education initiatives and outreach to schools and universities.
  • Together with our strategic partners, we work to increase access to age-appropriate care for all AYA patients and survivors with concentrated focus on improving survivorship (early detection, health maintenance and follow-up care).

Our VISION is that every teen and young adult with cancer “connects” with 13thirty. We strive to incorporate our VALUES into every program and each personal interaction:


Want to get involved? April is Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Awareness Month. Click here to learn more!