Thanks to a yellow baseball hat, adolescents and young adults with cancer will get an added boost.
American Family Insurance is giving nearly $300,000 to help fight cancer with about $100,000 going to the Oregon Health & Science University Cancer Institute Adolescent and Young Adult(AYA) oncology program.
The money was raised through the sales of 30,000 yellow baseball hats. The hats were produced by Nike and distributed in conjunction with the University of Oregon and the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Sharing in this donation is the UO Institute of Molecular Biology and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
Brandon Hayes-Lattin, M.D., medical director of the OHSU AYA program, said, "The hats have been a great way to show your support and to raise awareness for cancer that affects young adults. Most people don't know that cancer is the No. 1 killer in 15- to 40-year-olds. Plus, this age group has not seen improvement in cancer death rates even though younger and older age groups have. Thanks to this generous donation, we are working to change that."
American Family Insurance picked the AYA for several reasons, explained Rob Quesnel, American Family's state sales director for Oregon.
"When we learned that among diseases, cancer is the leading killer of young adults between the ages of 15 and 40 and that researchers have not been able to improve survival rates for this age group since 1975, we felt that it is time we gained more ground on this terrible disease," Quesnel said. "We feel we need to give back to the community, and this is one way we can. It's a good feeling to know that OHSU's AYA program is growing, helping more people, and creating more research and awareness."
Young adults with cancer have unique needs often not encompassed by traditional pediatric and adult oncology practices. These needs range from accessing quality cancer treatment to addressing fertility concerns to managing complex psychosocial situations with caregivers, parents, peers, children, school and work.
The mission of the OHSU Cancer Institute's AYA Oncology program is to develop and disseminate more effective methods to diagnose, treat, follow and care for young adults with cancer aged 15 to 40. The experience of young adults with cancer is often very different from that of other cancer patients. Caught between childhood and middle-age, they face medical and psychological challenges that require special attention. Young adults do not present with the same type of cancers as older adults, and they may not fare as well when they are prescribed adult treatment protocols. This stage of life also presents unique emotional and practical challenges that are further complicated by having to contend with this disease.
Oregon Health & Science University is the state’s only health and research university, and only academic health center. As Portland's largest employer and the fourth largest in Oregon (excluding government), OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support activities not found anywhere else in the state. It serves more than 184,000 patients, and is a conduit for learning for more than 3,900 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to each county in the state.
About American Family Insurance
Based in Madison, Wis., American Family Insurance offers auto, homeowners, life, health, commercial and farm/ranch insurance, plus financial services, in 18 states. The fifth-largest insurer of homes and sixth-largest insurer of private passenger autos in Oregon, American Family ranks 323rd on the Fortune 500 list and is the nation's third-largest mutual property/casualty insurance company.