What began as an emotional outlet between mother and daughter has spiraled into an organization that serves as a platform of self-expression for individuals affected by cancer. But starting a foundation wasn’t something that Yael Cohen intended to do. “It started really organically, when my mom got cancer. After her first surgery I got her a shirt that said ‘F*ck Cancer’ and it was an inside family joke,” Cohen said. “I thought it would be something she could wear at home, but mom being mom, she ended up wearing it everywhere. What was astonishing were people’s responses, it really resonated. People just opened right up.”
Since its inception in 2009, F*ck Cancer has taught young adults between the ages of 17 and 35, otherwise known as Generation Y, how they can educate themselves on the disease, and in turn relay their knowledge to those around them. “We are in a very unique position right now,” Cohen said. “Every kid thinks they know more than their parents do, and now for the first time we just might.” Cohen’s proactive approach to her mother’s diagnosis was a pivotal factor in her survival.
While today we’ve been taught to censor our emotions, Cohen says, “F*ck that!” F*ck Cancer promotes an authentic emotional response, where patients and their families are allowed to feel exactly what they need to feel, because as Cohen said, “There is no appropriate response to cancer.”
Advocates for F*ck Cancer include Hollywood A-listers Sophia Bush, Wilmer Valderrama and Adrian Grenier, all of whom have participated in F*ck Cancer’s Cancer Talk Campaign. The Campaign urges “Gen Y” to have the “cancer talk” with their parents, similar to the “sex talk” that virtually every child has endured.
But between conducting research, creating campaigns and implementing strategies, Cohen’s day to day routine is a non-stop march toward being the example. “The day-to-day is all I do,” Cohen said. “And it is all I live because I need to practice what I preach.”
I start every morning off with a green juice, because I think it’s really important to be alkalined, and then I work out. We teach people that you need to find that balance, and that what you put into your body is directly affecting your health.
Following my workout, I either have a breakfast meeting or I’ll make breakfast and catch up on emails.
10 AM-12 PM
I spend time on campaign creation and implementation, anything from sitting down with the agency or with creative companies. I also meet with supporters. We’ve been really lucky to have various high profile supporters.
Either a business lunch or lunch with friends at some of my favorite places in L.A., like Newsroom.
Sometimes I’ll hike in the afternoon if I have meetings with New York in the morning.
6 PM- 8 PM
At night I don’t do business meetings, because I think it sends the wrong message. I do dinner with friends, game night or concerts. The standard spots are usually Cecconi’s or Chateau Marmont. The vegan options at the Chateau are fantastic, and we try to advocate a plant-based diet. I’m not shy to ask for what I want.