Lauren and Miles

Lauren and Miles


On April 23rd, 2014, I boarded an airplane in Cleveland, Ohio, and flew to Las Vegas for the first time in my life.  This was thanks to the financial support of the Steven G. AYA Cancer Research Fund.  The fund’s generous travel scholarship paid for me to attend the OMG!  Stupid Cancer conference for young adult cancer survivors, which was held at the Palms Casino Resort.  The conference is a wonderful event that allows cancer survivors in the 18-40 age range meet, network, and have a good time over a long weekend.  It is so life affirming to meet others that share your life experiences, especially when a major challenge for young adult survivors is the loneliness you often feel, because it seems you are the only one going through what you are.

The conference is a nice blend of official, cancer related events, and free time to explore and enjoy all that Las Vegas has to offer.  The event included an official tour of The Strip, a pool party, dancing on the 55th floor of the Palms, and even pub trivia with your fellow attendees!  There were great speakers and talks on topics like Genomics, being LGBT with cancer, meditation, and managing your anger.  The conference was inclusive and welcoming, and was a great chance to really air your feelings, and feel like you matter.  My favorite event of the entire weekend was the Just For Gals: Nothing is Taboo talk, which included guest speaker Tamika Felder, who is a personal inspirational figure of mind, on both cancer survivorship and body image.  Like the entire conference, this session was patient focused, and emphasized being able to speak freely about issues that can be difficult to talk about, such as fertility, reproduction, body image, family relationships, and friendship.

In addition to meeting some great people, my boyfriend (who attended with me) and I rode the High Roller Observational Ferris Wheel, which just opened in early April 2014.  It gave a perfect view of the Strip, as well as the surrounding red rock and mountain-filled desert.  The Las Vegas Strip is truly a unique experience that must be experienced to be believed.  Only in Vegas can you see the Eiffel tower, the New York Skyline, and an exploding volcano, all within one mile!

I view this experience as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I was given because of the philanthropy of those that run the Steven G. AYA Cancer Research Fund.  I think this is a very worthwhile charitable action on the part of this group.  Research can be scientific to be sure, but it also includes meeting and networking with those that share your experiences.  It was also great to have a representative from Ohio present, to bring even more diversity to the conference.  I am forever grateful to this organization for helping to give me such a wonderful experience.


Lauren Mostardi


Report from Las Vegas: Stupid Cancer’s OMG! YA Cancer Summit 2014

Exuberant "Get To Know You Session" for NEW ATTENDEES!

Exuberant “Get To Know You Session” for NEW ATTENDEES!

Hi Friends,

I just returned from the OMG YA Cancer Summit 2014…although a bit tired I feel energized by the well orchestrated series of events that took place over the last few days in VEGAS!!!

Young Adult cancer survivors (some currently in treatment) from all of the USA, Canada, and Europe attended this action packed, fun filled, emotionally uplifting, and informative event.

Mathew Zachary, Ali Ward and the entire Stupid Cancer team should be applauded for the fantastic job they did to ensure everyone’s needs were met while attending the YA Cancer Summit.

Here are a few topics covered: Brain Tumor Support Group, Caregiver Support, Advocacy, Anger Management, Nutrition, Media and Survivorship, Insurance, Meditation and Relaxation, Pesticides, and more.

Plus there were Hair and Wig stylists available for anyone who wanted a new look…and also Makeup tips to put your glam on:)

I also had the pleasure of meeting two of the NE Ohio YA Cancer Survivors (Phoebe and Lauren) sent by the SGAYA Cancer Fund and In It Together.

Here are a few photographs of the event…


Lauren and Phoebe are center between Angie and Amelia. The gentleman is Lauren’s boyfriend (sorry I forgot your name!!)



The Art of Survivorship is how you choose to get busy living!!!

The Art of Survivorship is how you choose to get busy living!!!

Even Wonder Woman was warming up for the Walk/Run for YA Cancer!

Even Wonder Woman was warming up for the Walk/Run for YA Cancer!

stupid cancer 4

Makeup artists volunteered their time

stupid cancer 92

A High Energy Event!

stupid cancer 99

Wigs for YA Cancer Patients

Remembering and honoring our YA Cancer Warriors.

stupid cancer 7

Check your self!!

stupid cancer 5

Yes, cancer is stupid.

Warming up for a Walk/Run Event

Warming up for a Walk/Run Event

stupid cancer 93

Lynn smiling with friends Lauren and Phoebe

Bonnie and Mike Lang, Pat Taylor, @cancerfightclub, Amelia and me chilling at our favorite restaurant:)

Bonnie and Mike Lang, Pat Taylor, @cancerfightclub, Amelia and me chilling at our favorite restaurant:)

Are We Ever Cancer Free?

When Steven was diagnosed with a secondary cancer, (AML), and then had a Bone Marrow Transplant I often wondered if he would be free of cancer. We were told that time would tell and just to enjoy the moment.

Time has passed.

This year, happily, Steve was told that he is five years out from his Bone Marrow Transplant: AND THAT IS A VERY GOOD THING!!! Good Bye Cancer!!!


Like many childhood, adolescent and young adult cancer survivors Steve struggles with secondary effects that cause unexplained aches and pains, and chronic fatigue-like symptoms. There is always the fear that something new will pop up and change his life forever. We just don’t know.

I am not sharing this information to make you feel sorry for Steven but to remind you that survivorship often has a price.

Please take time out of your busy schedule to write to your congressmen and senators about how important it is to support Childhood Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Research!

Tell them they need to support the Carolyn Pryce Walker Childhood Reauthorization Act. Read more here:

Tell them they need to support  the Childhood Cancer Survivors Quality of Life Act. Read more here:

Tell them they need to stop the National Cancer Institute from cutting funding to Childhood Cancer Research. Read more here:

Tell them to support the Patients’ Access to Treatment Act. Read more here: This will  sure insurers charge no more for specialty drugs than they currently charge for non-specialty tier brand drugs.

I am asking you as a parent, caregiver and advocate to support these Legislations that impact our children’s future. Your future.

Thank You,


LET’S FIND A BETTER WAY TO                                                                                   TREAT AND CURE CANCER!!!




Patricia O'Donnell, Community Relations Coordinator for EarthFare Supermarket in Fairview Park, Ohio.

Patricia O’Donnell, Community Relations Coordinator

EarthFare Supermarket, Fairview Park, Ohio

Thank you EarthFare Supermarket for joining forces with the SGAYA Cancer Research Fund to provide Healthy Foods to Pediatric, Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Patients and their Families.

Research has shown that PAYA Cancer Patients have a better chance of surviving their cancer and remaining healthy if they are well nourished. This means that the majority of their meals should be fresh vegetables, legumes and fruits!!


Part of our mission includes helping  patients survive their cancer through education.  You can imagine our satisfaction knowing that dads and moms, as well as young patients, are enjoying refreshing smoothies. 

This past Friday was Green Smoothie day, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. 

Stephanie Jordan, Child life Worker, whipped up Green Smoothies that contained fresh pineapple, bananas, spinach, coconut water, and yogurt. 

Everyone (parents and children) agreed that despite the undesirable greenish hue of the beverage…it was quite tasty!!! One dad was reluctant…but after he took a sip…well what can I say…he really enjoyed the healthy drink!

Smoothie Fridays not only provide a healthy introduction to refreshing beverages, but a welcomed distraction to the often stressful days parents and children encounter on Rainbow 2.

Let’s face it CANCER STINKS!

BUT… One adolescent teen stated “wow I love these fruits!!! I am going to order fresh fruit everyday!!!”…when I asked her if I could quote her she said “SURE!!!”


You can expect to hear more about our WELLNESS PROGRAM in the future. In the meantime, know that every Friday something HEALTHY is happening courtesy of EarthFare and the Steven G AYA Cancer Research Fund. 


Stupid Cancer’s OMG It’s Cancer Conference 2014

Hello Friends,

We are happy to announce that the SGAYA Cancer Research Fund will be sending a qualified applicant to the OMG 2014 Conference.

OMG 2014 Conference is an annual event sponsored by

Stupid Cancer

AKA “i’m too young for this! ”

Stupid Cancer, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, is the dominant healthcare brand for millions affected by young adult cancer.

I am a huge fan of Stupid Cancer because of the genuine commitment to serving Young Adult Cancer Survivors through Social Media Advocacy work (and more). I urge you to check out their website to learn more about Stupid Cancer!

Visit them at 

OMG 2014 Conference info:

The conference will take place in Vegas on April 24 – 27, 2014.

If you are a Young Adult Cancer Survivor and are thinking about attending this fabulous conference please visit this link:

The link for the submission form is:

For more information upload the flyer here (this might take an extra step): patient scholarship flyer

As a Caregiver and YA Cancer Advocate I am looking forward to attending this conference.

I hope to see you in Vegas on April 24!!!




Caregiving and Depression – Angie’s Article at the Cancer Knowledge Network

View the original article at:

Mesothelioma and The Family

Our Friends from The Pleural Mesothelioma Center asked if we would be willing to share information about Pleural Mesothelioma. This type of cancer is not common among children and young adults, however, when one member of the family has been exposed to asbestos the rest of the family (including children) are at risk.

Please take a moment to read the article and feel free to contact them at for questions.

Thank you.



The Effect of a Mesothelioma Diagnosis on Your Family

Receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis can come with a string of emotions, and it will be a difficult and confusing time for family and loved ones, especially teens and young adults.

Mesothelioma is a rare, asbestos-related cancer that develops in the thin lining of the lungs, heart or abdominal cavity and is primarily caused by the persistent inhalation of asbestos fibers. These fibers can become lodged in the body, causing a tumor to develop decades after the initial exposure to asbestos.

Anyone who has been exposed to asbestos is at risk for developing mesothelioma or related conditions. Teens and young adults are at low risk if they live in a home or attend a school that was built before the 1980s, which may contain asbestos materials; however, men between the ages of 50 and 70 are most likely to develop mesothelioma from occupational exposure.

Family members of workers who are exposed on the job are also at risk, as asbestos fibers can be carried home on clothing or the skin, or in the hair.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive type of cancer with an unfavorable prognosis and is often associated with debilitating symptoms. As with other cancers, there is no known cure for mesothelioma, but there are treatment options such as chemotherapy, surgery or radiation. These options largely depend on the stage of the cancer and other factors. Early diagnosis is important in extending a patient’s life. If caught in its later stages, treatment options may be limited.

There are a lot of emotions involved in such a diagnosis, and it can be hard to watch a loved one go through such a trying time in their life. Sometimes loved ones can feel helpless or that they can’t do enough, which can lead to stress and other emotions that may interfere with their relationship with their loved one.

Coping With a Mesothelioma Diagnosis in the Family

Not only are emotions compromised when a parent or grandparent is diagnosed with mesothelioma, but daily life will also change. Mesothelioma can lead to chronic pain, shortness of breath and significant weight loss. All of these factors can contribute to difficulty in completing daily routines and may even lead to depression.

Just like patients have to learn to cope with their illness, their children and grandchildren also will need to learn to adjust. This may mean helping their loved one complete daily tasks or run errands that were not previously their responsibility.

It is important for teens and young adults to keep an ongoing relationship with their loved one who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Simple, daily conversations can serve as a reminder that the diagnosis does not define the relationship and that there is still hope.

Resources for Family Members

There are a number of resources available for mesothelioma patients and their families.

  • Support Groups. Support is especially important for anyone whose family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Support groups can provide tips and stories from others going through a similar situation and may be able to give young adults some guidance.

  • Therapy. If a young adult needs more support, a therapist or counselor can help sort out emotions that come with a mesothelioma diagnosis in the family.

  • Information. The more patients and their families know about mesothelioma, the better. Many cancer and mesothelioma groups provide free informational packets that include information that can help young adults cope with a parent or grandparent’s diagnosis.

When a parent or grandparent is diagnosed with any type of cancer, it can affect emotions and daily life. The most important thing is for teens or young adults to seek help or guidance and know that they are not alone.

Fight Conquer Cure Image (1)


It’s not everyday I can report on two successful events in one week…but here it is!

A BIG THANK YOU to our SUPPORTERS who helped us Take a BITE out of AYA Cancer  at our Fundraiser last week!!! Despite the snow and cold (old man winter did a number on us) folks were determined to inform cancer that NOTHING IS GOING TO STOP THEM FROM FIGHTING CANCER!!!


Our Event Sponsors were:













We will post all the names of our many wonderful donors in our Event Power Point very soon. Our donors enabled us to have some fantastic and unique Silent and Chinese Auction items:)

Thank you to our Fundraising committee:

Tina Poulos, Chair

Elaine & Claude Campbell

Jean & Nick Hillman

Mary & Jim Diamond

Polly & Tim Furey

Betty & John Poulos

Toula & Nick Pyros

Helene & Anthony Santerelli

Lee Santerelli

Myrta Holden

Elpida Kosmidis

Fr. James & Presbytera Goldie Doukas

Nick Giallourakis

Becky Giallourakis

We couldn’t have done it without you!!!!!



Fr. James Doukas, Polly Furey, Helene Santerelli, Goldie Doukas, and Ang===============================


MC Nick Giallourakis and Camilla Cullis



Vera Karydes, Alan & Aggie Arabian, Toula Pyros


CJ Mosure, Jim Diamond, Stephanie Missirlis, Polly & Tim Furey


more photos will be posted very soon!










purple smoothie little health nut



Our very first Wellness Project took place on Friday at Rainbow Babies & Childrens’ Hospital. The SGAYA Smoothie Day was a hit! Smoothies are a healthy and easy way to enjoy a nourishing TREAT…especially for young people receiving chemotherapy…and for family members who, day after day, choose to remain at the side of their loved ones.

Thanks to VitaMix of Cleveland, we were able to blend blueberries, bananas, and orange juice into a delightful beverage that EVERYONE enjoyed….even children currently receiving  chemotherapy (that destroys ones taste buds)..

When I saw the youngsters enjoy the fruit filled smoothie and smile…my heart soared!!!

Special thanks to Child Life Worker Stephanie Jordan for printing off the recipes to distribute to families and making the event HAPPEN!!! Coordination of time and space is required to make such a simple event successful!!!

I look forward to our next WELLNESS EVENT… Healthy Snack Day!!

purple smoothy 2purple smoothy day

Stephanie and a helpful Volunteer prepared


Thanks to

Stephanie for letting me get in on

the fun!!!

Take A BITE out of AYA CANCER!!!


Hello Friends,

Our 5th Annual fundraiser will take place this Saturday, January 25th, 2014.

Tickets are being sold at a rapid pace, so if you are thinking about attending may I suggest you visit our website ( or email me ( to make your purchase.

Our wonderful committee has been working diligently to make this event the best ever!!!

Our Silent and Chinese Auction Items include (but are not limited to the following):

Vacation Get-Away Packages!

Golf Packages!

Autographed Sports Items!

   (including Nick Swisher autographed        baseball and  bat that includes his named  engraved and signed!!!)

Pure Barre Workout Gift Basket!

Spa Items  From Charles Scott and Fusions Salons!

Get Fit with  Jeremy Dancy of Official Fitness Pro!

Loge Seating for Cleveland Sporting Events!

Art Work!

Restaurant Gift Certificates!!


and more!!!

What a great way to help us Fight Conquer Cure Cancer!!!

See you soon!!!


event-logo (1)


Hello all,

Don’t forget this Saturday,

January 18th at noon or

1:15pm for the PURE BARRE –

Pure Give Class!!!

Proceeds will go towards the Steven G AYA Cancer Research Fund!

Support AYA Cancer Research, Education and Advocacy and GET INTO SHAPE!!!

Also, Steven G will be joining us at 1:00 pm to thank all of you for supporting our cause!

you can register on-line at


email at

Thanks for helping us




Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 9.49.16 AM