Friday, May 16, 2014

2014 "How to Kick mAss" World Tour

We are planning on taking a few tumor/cancer survivors to different areas of the pacific ocean to dispel the myth that “cancer is a death sentence.”  Internationally, cancer survivorship is not as prominent as it is in the United States.  Our plan is to educate the future healthcare professionals, current healthcare professionals, and patients that life after an intimidating tumor/cancer is not only possible but can also lead to changes in the stigma that cancer is a death sentence.

We firmly believe that the global stigma of a tumor/cancer diagnosis as a death sentence needs to be addressed and that tumor/cancer thrivers can be both a symbol and voice of hope in dispelling the myth that cancer is a death sentence.

Awaiting confirmation of the new venues in the summer/fall... details coming soon!  Check out what we did last year:  We'll be blogging more frequently this year!

the Philippines/Japan:

We could use your support in this ambitious venture!  We are not familiar with other groups or organizations attempting this.  Please consider a tax deductible donation to support our efforts in this mission.  mAss Kickers Foundation will plan similar trips around the world!   Please help us spread the message of tumor/cancer "THRIVERSHIP" around the world!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

OMG 2014, Las Vegas

*originally published on

This past weekend I went to my third OMG Cancer Summit for young adult survivors.  I always come back from this conference physically exhausted, but emotionally recharged.  We decided not to table this year in order to enjoy the conference and network on a more personal level with the attendees!  I love going to this event because it is a great feeling finding people who have gone through similar experiences and understand the nuances of why you have to do things... As an 8-year young brain tumor survivor turned brain tumor thriver, I still remember how isolating it was after treatment.  Meeting and hanging out with people who understand your impairments felt like finding a long lost brother or sister separated at birth!  I will never forget that feeling.  On Saturday, I attended a session on Genomics and Forging Partnerships with Cancer Centers.  On Sunday, I attended the "First Steps to Fitness" Session and a Risk Management session.  This past year I was so happy to see more brain tumor specific sessions.  Unfortunately, I came in a day late and missed 2 of my brain tumor buddies, Ashley and Catherine speaking on the brain tumor panel.  I'm so happy to see brain tumor issues being represented at a "cancer conference".  We've come a long way!
Don't get me wrong going to Vegas wasn't all business. There were a lot of fun events planned as well! Friday night, we saw a screening of a number of extreme sports short films presented by First Descents then hung out at the Ghostbar in the hotel.  For me, I've learned that IT'S ALL ABOUT PACING YOURSELF AT THESE CONFERENCES!  Saturday night, a group of 11 survivors from California went to see the Jabbawookeez show, Prism, at the Luxor.  mAss Kickers Foundation was able to secure complimentary tickets for the small group!  It was really cool seeing the Jabbawookies live.  I've been following them since their days on MTV's ABDC, America's Best Dance Crew.  I always notice when Filipinos do some thing big.  PLUS they are from San Diego... HAHAHA!  After the show, we took some pictures and grabbed a bite to eat at the Luxor.  It was so cool getting to know everyone there!  After a pretty eventful day, we decided to just hangout at the hotel while everyone else partied the night away!  Totally fine by me because I got to know the NorCal guys pretty well.  You really get to know people when there isn't loud music or an artificial aura of trying to impress someone.  Chill and shooting the breeze... more my style then the club scene lately.

TUMORS SUCK 2014 Part 2

Thursday, January 23, 2014

               Becky MacK Goes to Washington

        Every year, in the United States, more than one million people are diagnosed with cancer and every year, more than 500,000 people die of cancer.  That is one big ball of stunning, unbelievable and scary to say the very least.  Those facts shouldn’t just scare you, though; they should catapult you into action.  When I was diagnosed with Medullary thyroid cancer and learned that there was no cure for my disease, suddenly whether or not clinical trials would be funded was important to me.  Suddenly, my priorities consisted of things like making sure that treatments and healthcare would be available when I needed them.  The National Institute of Health, comprehensive cancer centers and new drug developments became my central focus. 
That is why I involved myself with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).

 ACS CAN works with lawmakers to ensure that cancer is a national priority.  The organization works every single day advocating for public policies in the United States that are helping to put an end to cancer and cancer disparities.    More importantly to me, the organization gives me a loud, powerful and effective voice.  ACS CAN gives me knowledge in the land of cancer legislation keeps me up to date on the latest laws that affect cancer patients across the United States.  ACS CAN gives me options when my cancer tries to take them away.

  On Tuesday, September 10th, 2013, I joined ACS CAN’s staff and volunteers in Washington, D.C.  Together, we covered our capital building in a sea of blue ACS CAN shirts and advocated, educated and told our stories.    A total of 450 volunteers, including 256 cancer survivors attended 463 meetings with lawmakers, demanding that cancer be seen as a national priority.  I was fortunate enough to be a part of this important lobby day and very loudly and proudly represented Florida’s 19th Congressional district.  Together, we asked for lawmakers to consider three things:

First, we asked lawmakers to replace funding for cancer research that was taken away when the sequestration occurred.  Specifically, we asked that funding for the National Institute of Health and the National Cancer Institute to be restored and for continued funding for both cancer prevention and early detection at the Center for Disease Control.  I am living with a type of cancer that does not have a complete, systemic cure and this funding is essential for people like me because we depend heavily on cancer research and clinical trials.  Less funding means less research, less drug development and less hope for my cure.  Less funding means limited access to clinical trials.  Less funding means less lives are saved.  I will not accept that.  It’s time for less cancer and more funding, research and options. 

Second, we asked lawmakers to support legislation that encourages palliative care or quality of life, something that has been proven to decrease healthcare costs and improve the quality and length of life in cancer patients.   When I met with members of Congress, I explained to them that cancer comes with physical pain, nausea, anxiety and emotional distress.  Palliative care involves addressing the needs of the whole patient, not just the disease and, while palliative care does involve things like hospice and end of life care, it doesn’t begin there.  Medical professionals make use of palliative care at the beginning of a patient’s diagnosis and continue with it during treatment.  Every cancer patient has the right to be free of pain and nausea and to have his/her entire self treated.

 I will never forget laying in an MRI scan for over an hour.  I was required to lie completely still the entire time, but all I did was worry and cry.  I knew that the radiologist was looking for tumors and I panicked at the thought.  I couldn’t stay still and as I sobbed, my entire body shook.  Because I was moving so much, we had to repeat the procedure the following week.  This time, the nurse offered to give me something to calm down and rest before the procedure began.  Repeating the procedure unnecessarily cost both me and the hospital more money.  Had someone addressed my emotional needs the first time, it not only would have saved money, it would have helped my anxiety and saved time.  That is palliative care.  Yes, we need to treat the cancer, but we also need to consider every other aspect of a cancer patient’s experience. 

Finally, we requested that Congress increase the federal cigarette tax by 94 cents.  An increase in the federal cigarette tax has been proven to deter youth from smoking and decrease healthcare costs.  I recently learned that for every pack of cigarettes a smoker purchases, it adds $10.47 to the United States economy.  Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, good comes from smoking a cigarette or using any type of tobacco product.  

  It isn't just research that is going to help find cures for people like me.  It is also the public policies that allow for the implementation and funding of that research.  Know what’s happening in your community.  Demand that your lawmakers at the local, state and federal levels are paying attention to their constituents, people that are affected by this disease every single day.  Let’s hold them accountable.  I know I will.

Are you Ready to be a mAss Kicker?

We think ALL Tumors Suck! We believe a stronger community needs to be formed to more efficiently fight these diseases. JOIN THE MASS KICKERS ARMY! Content here will be provided by real people who have been affected by tumors/cancer. Any one can be a "mAss Kicker". When facing a new intimidating diagnosis it is easy to loose confidence. We've found that the "Right ATTITUDE" will help get you through a difficult time! Are you ready to be a "mAss Kicker?"