|Taken before her junior prom|
Brittney went through rounds and rounds of chemotherapy. She lost her hair, but she never lost her positive outlook. Any time we visited, she was always smiling, asking my dad if he brought any of her favorite ribs, even though she could only eat a bite or two efore getting nauseous again. Brittney had to be home schooled, because she was to weak and her platelet counts were too low for her to be around crowds
One specific memory I have is of her and I going to the mall together. She had to wear a mask. People stared. Pointed. Whispered. I wanted to cry, to scream, to yell at them for pointing. But she just ignored it, acted like she didn't notice. I don't know if I could have been that strong.
|This is Brittney today, with her son.|
In 2008 Brittney's chemotherapy treatments came to an end. Her hair came back. She finished her senior year. She was declared cancer free. She married her high school sweetheart. She moved across the country, she was still cancer free. Her son was born on August 21st, 2013. She is still cancer free.
Brittney's story has a happy ending, but not every story does. Every day thousands of people under the age of 30 are diagnosed with cancer. This is where The Young and Brave Foundation comes in. This is where you come in.
I had the opportunity to interview one of the co-founders, Matt Coulter, and here is what he has to share with us:
1. After someone close to you was diagnosed with cancer, you decided to help out in any way you could. Tell us about how that decision led you to become The Young and Brave Foundation?
To be honest Nathaniel Curran and I for a long time went back and forth about how we could create something to give back to our local community but nothing stuck as a good idea. We both wanted to do something but wanted it to matter. Neither one of us do anything half ass. When our friend was diagnosed with leukemia our eyes were opened to what a horrific disease cancer is. Everyone understands this but until you go through it on a intimate level you just can't understand. We understand that the actual cancer is the biggest problem but having your life turned upside down is a devastating byproduct. No one prepares for cancer so when it happens you are at a loss for not only words but direction. We started The Young and Brave Foundation so that having a place to start your fight against this disease truly existed. A place to turn to for help, for good vibes, prayers (no matter you're beliefs), but most importantly LOVE.
2. Who does The Young and Brave Foundation aim to help? How can a person become one of your Warriors?
The Young and Brave Foundation is set up to help young adults, children and their families deal with the realities of cancer. 30 years and younger is our demographic for many reasons but because of the lack resources provided we felt most compelled to help in this arena. To become a WARRIOR is really quite simple and the initial form can be filled out on our website. It is something that we provide free of charge. We allow out WARRIORS to fundraise in a multitude of ways. Our aim is to have 100% of all donations made through our WARRIOR profiles go directly to that individual. At the moment the only fee that is deducted from donations made online is a 2.2% service charge that is deducted by PayPal before the funds ever reach the foundation. With that said if you want to avoid that minor deduction you can send a certified cashiers check to the foundation that will be 100% donated to the WARRIOR of your choosing.
3. In what specific ways do you use your proceeds to help Warriors and their families?
All donations go directly to the individual or family member(s) in charge of financial obligations. We know first hand that just because your world stops doesn't mean car payments, mortgages, rent, insurance ect. does. Donations can go directly to any of the listed debts above or obviously medicine, doctors or any other fees arising from your diagnosis.
4. Do you have additional jobs besides managing The Young and Brave Foundation? If so, how do you manage your time between work, play, and the foundation?
Nathaniel Curran is a professional surfer traveling the globe 9 months of the year if not more. His sponsorship obligations and contests keep his plate more than full. I (Matt Coulter) am currently the Vice President of operations with a independent escrow firm based in Ventura and Northern LA county. The growth of the Foundation is happening at a rapid pace and what we want but discussions of creating a full time paid position is in the works.
5. What do you guys like to do in your free time, ya know, besides be awesome?
Nathaniel Curran besides surfing is a full car junkie. it helps that Audi USA is one of his sponsors and along with his brother Josh they have and emerging website www.clutchrides.com and custom car company Clutch Rides Motorsport. I myself enjoying getting in the ocean to surf daily, have started competing in triathlons and just completed my first ironman event.
6. In what ways can my readers contribute to the foundation?
There are many ways for your readers to get involved. The first is to follow us on all social media ( Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) the second would be to spread the word any way possible. Most importantly it would be to visit The Young and Brave website and read about our amazing WARRIORS. If you feel compelled, make a donation to one of them or all of them;) You can also contribute to the general foundation fund with a one time donation or a monthly reoccurring donation. This general donation fund helps us keep the foundation going financially, helping pay for website upkeep to helping fund events like Thanksgiving Dinner for all the families and kids at Mattel Children's Hospital cancer wing This Tuesday November 26th 2013. Also as we have continued to grow so has our apparel line. You can shop on our site for all the latest youngbrave apparel with more amazing collaborations happening all the time. We hope to fund the foundation though the proceeds of apparel sales so that 100% donations made through our WARRIORS profiles goes to their fight on cancer!
7. Is there ANYTHING else you’d like to share with my readers about Young and Brave or yourselves… Favorite color? Single or Taken? Favorite band or artist? Favorite football (or other sport) team? Favorite food? We would love to know!
Both of us are single at the moment, Nathaniel Curran likes the music of Ben Howard and I have JayZ on repeat. Nathaniel Curran is a UCLA guy and I'm a USC guy (just a little friendly rivalry there!) Sushi, Toppers pizza or Yolanda's Mexican food any of those and were happy. We both put our heart and soul into the foundation on a daily basis. We understand the potential it has to help so many and we want to see it reach its max potential. We want to help millions, have global reach and appeal. Cancer is horrible but we feel that together, with everyone and with LOVE we can have a giant impact.
|Top: Matt and Nathaniel at a Surfing Invitational, The Young and Brave logo|
Bottom: Matt cheesing with an adorable little girl, Nathaniel high fiving on the beach.
If you donate through the link above, you're eligible for a little giveaway! The Fault in Our Stars is a New York times best seller, and is about a 17 year old girl diagnosed with cancer. I haven't read it yet, but have only heard good reviews, so when I purchase the book for the winner, I'll be getting myself one too! And what else goes with a good book better than some coffee? Just comment with the amount of your donation and then you'll be eligible for additional entries.