Last night I drove an hour and a half, straight from work – in traffic, to pick up Hugo from the boarder. We had to board Hugo for the last week and a half because unfortunately the newest edition to our family, came in heat. At first, Hugo was doing fine, it didn't seem to bother him. But suddenly, around a week and a half ago, he just couldn't stand it. Couldn't eat or sleep, whined constantly, his eyes turned red, and he started humping an invisible dog. It wasn't fun for anyone. Accept maybe for Gamey who seemed to smile through it all and prance around carrying a bone bigger than her head.

We choose to board him at this particular place that happens to be over an hour from our home because it's where he grew up (his real mom still lives there.) The people we bought Hugo from are not only dog breeders but also trainers, and because they breed their dogs very rarely, they also will take your dog for a week or so and he gets to run free on acres of land. 

On the way I decided it would be really smart of me to not just jam out to music, but to listen to a book on tape, or I guess they don't call it that anymore since the last tape I bought was when Britney Spears came out with “Hit Me Baby One More Time.” Which was because I had a portable tape player and therefore could walk around without having to miss a beat. 

As I scanned through the selection of Audible's books while at a standstill on the Tollway, I decided on “The Fault in Our Stars.” I read other bloggers reviews and without thinking much about it, I decided to start listening. I knew that it was about teens and cancer but I didn't know that it would speak directly to me and give me a different view of how my little sister dealt with her own battle. 

I find it really difficult to write about cancer. Everyone's affected by it but we all see it through a different lens. I haven't struggled with cancer. I don't know what the pain and fear is like. I do however, like most people, witnessed cancer through others. Last year around this time I was sitting in a hospital room, watching my Dad in more pain than I've ever seen before. Not just physically, but mentally too. A few years before that I watched my 14 year old sister battle leukemia for 2 and 1/2 years. Both are doing wonderful right now, and our fingers are crossed it doesn't come back. And even the breeder that we bought Hugo from, just passed away after a very hard battle with breast cancer (her husband now runs the business on his own.) 

Looking back over the years I have felt helpless. What can I do? How can I possibly help? It's hard to give someone else hope when you yourself feel completely worthless in the fight. 

Someone who has been able to actually make a difference is Matt Coulter of The Young and the Brave Foundation. When Ashten approached me about spreading the word about their cause, I didn't give it a second thought. We can't always beat cancer, but we can take a stand and help others and give those fighting and their families real hope. 

I have Matt here today answering some of my questions about The Young and The Brave and how to make a difference. 

Give us a snapshot of what The Young and The Brave Foundation does?
We strive to create a brand that matters, is relevant, and LOVES. Our foundation has a few ideas that are growing like the new portion of our website that is starting asap, #LOVEbeatscancer. But the main focus of The Young and Brave Foundation is the WARRIORS Profiles. This is a location within our website that individuals and families are provided, free of charge minus a 2.2% fee taken by paypal, that allows them a place to share what is going on, create awareness, advocacy, bust most importantly fundraise. This really elevates having to recreate the wheel when it comes to fundraising and takes many of the pressures, time, and confusion out of setting up an avenue in which to relay info to everyone within a sphere of influence. We pride ourselves on note taking one penny away from the individuals and families fundraising through our WARRIOR profiles. you can donate to our general fund which is set up to help maintain the foundation.
What's the best thing to do when you find out someone has cancer? 
We are geared to assist the 30 and under crowd, there are exceptions to every rule but our focus demographic is 30 and under. From newborns to young families we are hear to LOVE any way possible. If you happen to know someone that you think could use our help send them directly to our website or have them connect with me at [email protected] 
Where do you see yourself and the foundation in the next 10 years?
You gotta dream big. We want the to be the biggest, baddest thing cancer is going to face. PERIOD. As we continue to grow so will the community and the foundation. As we do hospital visits and other events we also see the opportunity to grow the foundation into other diseases, assisting other individuals and families in the same way. We feel lucky to say that the sky is the limit for The Young and Brave Foundation and we are excited for the future.
How can other bloggers contribute? 
Bloggers can be on the front lines in regard to exposure because you have an audience that listens to you. For the foundation at this point will benefit by the more people know about who we are and what we do the better!!! Every person it seems like is dealing with cancer on some level either directly or indirectly. Each person counts and each person matters, we want to help them all.
What's the biggest surprise you've found along the way with starting the Young and the Brave?
 By far the support of The Young and Brave Foundation has been the biggest and most rewarding thing. Its cliche and cheesy but it is amazing what a little LOVE can do. That is the foundation of what we are doing and I think people see that and want to be apart any way possible. We are just trying to grow responsibly but we feel that we really have hit a nerve within our demographic and feel a great deal of responsibility to make this foundation a special type of movement.

If you're interested in supporting The Young and The Brave I urge you to check this campaign, specifically for bloggers to help support the foundation. 
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