Give Me A Break From Cancer (GMABFC), a program of the Zaching Against Cancer Foundation (ZACF), supports the overlooked population of young people between the ages of 18 and 39 who live with cancer by offering these young adults and their caregivers the chance to take a break and get away from it all—the opportunity to forget about “all that cancer stuff” for a while.

Individuals design their own breaks—a night out on the town, a short vacation, or a visit to a beloved relative—without having to worry about making the arrangements (reservations, tickets, any needed medical-care support); all these logistics are handled by a team of volunteers. The cost of the breaks is covered by charitable donations made to ZACF on behalf of GMABFC. The goal of the program is straightforward: to empower young adults with cancer to feel normal again, to do things that they used to do or have always dreamed of doing—despite having to live with cancer.

While such short-term intervention may not directly affect the disease, taking a break, getting away for a little while, can change the reality of the young person’s life for a time, and make a positive contribution to their happiness and well being.

A Note From GMABFC Founder John Barba

The idea for GMABFC came up almost casually in a conversation that I had with my oncology counselor after my wife died of pancreatic cancer in 2010. Looking back on that long and difficult period, I said about the only good thing to remember were the times when she was up for it and we were able to travel and get away from the cancer. When my counselor mentioned how different the situation is for young adults with cancer, I learned a lot about how the course of their disease is often very different—as are their psychosocial needs. And, come to find out, young people don’t have money! (Who knew?)

In a flash I envisioned a way to lift the burden of cancer just a little: a program aimed at giving these young people the wherewithal to a take a break, a chance to get away from cancer and have some fun again—to do something they used to do or have always dreamed of doing—something good for the spirit.

What I learned is that to live life, you have to keep going forward—no matter what is happening or what may happen—and just try to be in the moment. GMABFC can help provide the spiritual energy to do just that for young adults with cancer by giving them a little break, something they truly need and surely deserve.

I have come to see that even in loss, there is a presence: the good memories that cancer can’t take away. And so, as I like to say, remembering is forever.

~ John Barba