We can not express the gratitude we feel for those that support & donate their time and resources for the Adolescents & Young Adults in our community. FWAYA has served the community for almost ten years and continues to pull the medical, educational & cancer support communities together to provide an additional support system. We would like to share our story with you.
The Fort Worth Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Coalition (FWAYAOC) is a nonprofit organization, founded in 2011 that brings together a consortium of the Tarrant County medical, education, and cancer support organizations. The vision & mission was to ensure “every AYA (Adolescent & Young Adult) cancer patient in our community would receive comprehensive and age appropriate care of the highest standard”. AYA’s face unique medical & psychosocial issues that when not addressed can have devastating short and long-term consequences. “The U.S. medical and scientific community began recognizing the needs of AYAs with cancer during the late 1990s. In 2005, a pivotal “Progress Review Group” meeting (co-sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and the Lance Armstrong Foundation) resulted in consensus on five key recommendations for improving the outcomes of AYAs with cancer.”
As a result, in March of 2011, a group of more than 30 community members and individuals representing 11 Fort Worth, Texas oncology centers and organizations to discuss the care, needs and support of local AYA cancer patients. Led by Dr. Karen Albritton, the meeting inspired the development of a unique, inter-city task force to further examine the local AYA care landscape. Through data sharing and collaboration, the task force confirmed a need to work together to improve the lives of young people diagnosed with cancer in North Texas.
It was identified that this population was greatly underserved not only nationally but locally in our community. Further, giving vital resources during this life-altering diagnosis could literally make a difference in health & stability for the rest of their lives. A cancer diagnosis is always a life-altering event however being diagnosed as a young person poses many major life barriers: educational & career, relationship & fertility, emotional & psychological and life or death decisions.
FWAYA gives young cancer patients free access to an AYA dedicated navigator, child life specialist, and psychologist who provide support throughout their cancer journey and deliver services and programming that brings together, educates, and empowers AYAs. These vital services can simply make the difference between stability and instability the rest of their lives. FWAYA’s programmatic model allows the medical facilities an opportunity to contribute to supporting AYA’s by allowing FWAYA to be the safety-net organization they refer AYA’s to for nurse & social work navigation, psychological and emotional services.
These AYA’s diagnosed with cancer are often uninsured or underinsured due to thei time in their lives. Most are approaching college and under their parents insurance or in low paying jobs. . The majority of AYA’s are considered underinsured simply by their diagnosis needs. FWAYA programmatic model allows for the social worker & nurse navigator to be mobile and“float” to other community medical and cancer support facilities. As a vulnerable and underserved population, they deserve
our support to be given the hope of health and opportunity in their future lives.
Making a difference in the lives of local young people burdened with a life-threatening disease like cancer is possible through your generous donation of time & financial resources. Your support offers hope, comfort, educational and valuable, life-changing opportunities to young adults living in and around Fort Worth.