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Jaci Fletcher

YSC Launching Program to Create Next Generation of Young, Educated Breast Cancer Advocates

by Jaci Fletcher, YSC Senior Communications Manager on January 14, 2016

January 14, 2016
Jaci Fletcher, Senior Communications Manager
[email protected]

Inaugural “Respected Influencers through Science and Education” (RISE) Class Selected

New York, New York, (January 14, 2016) — In order to make a critical and long-lasting impact on the lives of young women affected by breast cancer, Young Survival Coalition (YSC) is launching an elite volunteer advocacy program to develop the next generation of educated breast cancer advocates. These Respected Influencers through Science and Education (RISE) volunteer advocates will be trained in all aspects of breast cancer, including science, research, advocacy and policy.

Once trained, RISE advocates will be qualified to speak knowledgeably and credibly on behalf of YSC and other young survivors. This is vitally important because breast cancer in young women is not simply a disease diagnosed at a young age; it has biological characteristics and treatment concerns that differ from diagnosis in post-menopausal women.

YSC has been the voice for young women affected by breast cancer since its inception in 1998, and the organization has led the way in advocacy for breast cancer in young women. YSC is dedicated to identifying the right research questions that, when answered, will help improve the lives and outcomes of young women with breast cancer.

“The interests of young women need to be represented nationwide – at scientific conferences, legislative hearings and on research grants, among others. YSC needs to expand our reach and increase our ability to ‘have a seat at the table’ in order to ensure that our unique voice is heard,’” remarked Jennifer Merschdorf, YSC CEO. “As the leading voice for young women affected by breast cancer, YSC has the responsibility to create the next generation of advocates. This exclusive program allows YSC to do exactly that by having dedicated volunteers who become educated consumer advocates for all young women affected by breast cancer.”

Volunteers for the RISE program were selected through a rigorous application process, and the inaugural class includes 10 advocates;

  • Allison Eng-Perez - Key Biscayne, Fla.
  • Kate Petrides - Jersey City, N.J.
  • Laura D’Alessandro - South Euclid, Ohio
  • Rebecca Seago-Coyle - Rochester, Wash.
  • Diane Massaglia - Oxford, Pa.
  • Michele Hille - Dallas, Texas
  • Jen Linares - Oak Forest, Ill.
  • Dana Stewart - Downers Grove, Ill.
  • Amanda Hynum - Huntington Beach, Calif.
  • Sherri Waldvogel - Essex, Ill.

Michele Hill, a member of the inaugural class stated, “When I heard about RISE, I knew it was perfect for me. I look forward to attending scientific symposia and contributing to research and educational programs. I am absolutely thrilled at the opportunity to be the voice of the young survivor and help shape all that is important to women just like me!”

To learn more about the YSC Rise program, please visit

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About the RISE Program

Each RISE advocate will serve a three-year commitment. Each year, 10 new participants will be selected to participate in the program with at least 40 leaders completing the program at the end of six years. A group of dedicated volunteers who have already completed the advocacy and breast cancer science trainings will serve as mentors to the first two classes. For more information, visit

About Young Survival Coalition (YSC)®

Established in 1998, Young Survival Coalition (YSC) is the premier organization dedicated to young women with breast cancer. Founded by three young survivors, YSC began as a grassroots organization to advocate on behalf of all young women diagnosed with breast cancer to increase their length and quality of life. Based in New York City, with networks nationwide, YSC provides free resources, connections and educational materials so young women with breast cancer feel supported, empowered and hopeful. YSC seeks to educate and influence the medical, research and legislative communities to address breast cancer in young women, and to ensure that no young woman faces breast cancer alone. For more information, visit