Yael Cohen has built an organization out of the emotion she felt when her mother was battling breast cancer.
“I made my mom a shirt that said ‘F*** Cancer’ after her first surgery in 2009, and to be honest, I thought she’d never wear it out of the house,” she said.
But Cohen’s mom wore the shirt everywhere, and far from offending, the sassy message resonated with the public.
“She literally couldn’t walk more than a few minutes without people stopping here to high-five her or hug her or share their stories.”
Through FCancer’s website, social media, celebrity endorsements and speaking engagements, Cohen is working to spread the message that 90% of cancers can be cured if caught early enough. Unlike other cancer organizations, which focus on raising money for research, Cohen has chosen to focus on educating about early detection.
“It’s actionable,” she said. “I wanted to do something where I could make a difference.”
The message is designed to appeal to Cohen’s generation, who she said are too often left out of the conversation.
Since starting FCancer, Cohen has been invited to speak at the United Nations Nexus Conference, TEDx Vancouver, the White House Next Generation Leadership Conference, and the Clinton Global Initiative.
Cohen is especially proud of a recent redesign of FCancer’s website, which includes a section simply called “cancer” with information about symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and post-treatment.
“It’s where we teach you the things that we just don’t talk about as a society,” she said. “How to talk about cancer.” •