A few months back, the founder of You Can Thrive, a foundation near and dear to my heart, sent me a link to apply for a Samfund grant. I had never heard of The Samfund so decided to dig a little deeper and find out who they were and what they were all about. Here’s what I found out:
The Samfund is a charitable organization that provides financial assistance to young adult cancer survivors/thrivers in the United States as they recover from the financial impact of cancer treatment. “Through direct financial assistance and free online support and education, The Samfund helps young adults move forward towards their personal, professional, and academic goals.” They are also the first and largest nonprofit organization in the U.S focusing on younger survivors and thrivers, regardless of where they live or their specific cancer diagnosis. I love everything about this! Firstly, I’m always looking for organizations advocating for younger adults as we are somewhat overlooked. The median age of patients at the time of cancer diagnosis is 66, according to the American Cancer Society. “While cancer is never welcome news, the reality is, older Americans are more likely to have some savings or job security, have had any children they’re likely to have and have more of a support system in place than their young adult counterparts do. People in their twenties and thirties are less likely to have these assets to rely on.” Secondly, this charity is for ALL young cancer survivors, not just for people who are among those in the (for lack of a better phrase) “glorified cancer groups.” It’s an organization that is specific to young adults no matter what cancer diagnosis they are overcoming or living with. I was so happy to see that such an organization even existed. I had no idea!
The organization was founded by “Sam” in 2003. She was diagnosed in 1999 with Ewing’s Sarcoma and in 2001 with Secondary Myelodysplastic Syndrome (with a bone marrow transplant in August of 2001), she saw how little support there was for young adults who were struggling once treatment ended. As she quickly came to learn, cancer isn’t free.
If you’re going through anything like myself, dealing with cancer or any other health issue, than you are no stranger to the amount of paperwork and bills that start to accumulate. The bills seem endless and they begin pile up to the point that it becomes overwhelming. Not to mention all of the other resources we may need outside of just hospital visits and treatment…finances become extremely stressful to say the least, and the last thing we need is added stress. And let’s not forget that we have “normal” bills like the rest of the world too! So The Samfund’s slogan, “Cancer Isn’t Free” couldn’t be more relatable and true.
I decided to apply as I met the criteria during the last enrollment period and turns out, I qualified and received a grant! It was really quite simple and I couldn’t be more grateful. You can click here to get a full run down of the eligibility requirements and open enrollment dates. The grant application consists of two parts. The first part requires some basic personal and health information. Once you complete the first portion, you wait to see if you are approved and if so you continue on to the second part where you are asked to answer some more essay-type questions. All in all, its really quite seamless and the staff is so warm and friendly and ready to answer any questions you may have. You also get to elect where you need financial assistance most, and once granted, they send payment to the payee directly. The amount you are granted depends upon your financial circumstances and needs.
Following is a list of categories you are able to choose from:
Books, Supplies, Computer
Continuing Education or Vocational Training
Standardized Test Funding
Health & Wellness
Alternative Healing Options (Yoga, Acupuncture, etc)
Cosmetic or Reconstructive Procedures
Family Building Options/Procedures (A) (Egg, Embryo or Sperm Storage)
Family Building Options/Procedures (B) (IVF, IUI, Gestational Carrier, Surrogacy, Adoption, Fertility Testing)
Health Insurance Supplementation
Residual and Current Medical Expenses
Car-related expense (car repairs, car insurance, car loan payments)
Since 2005, The Samfund has awarded over $1.6 million in grants and provided a free Webinar series, “Moving Forward With Your Financial Health,” offering young adults the tools and guidance they need to move forward with their lives. This Webinar addresses some of the most common financial challenges faced by young adult cancer survivors after treatment. It also provides guidance on how to overcome them covering such topics as:
Rebuilding your credit after treatment
Reducing medical debt
And as if their financial generosity and Webinar series weren’t enough, they offer all sorts of other resources to help young adults get their lives back on track through alumni support, survivorship support, caregiver support, legal resources and the list goes on. You can read testimonials of some of the past recipients to get a feel for what the organization has done for those in need.
Needless to say, I am so grateful that I was gifted the opportunity to get to become familiar with this organization and wanted to let fellow survivors and thrivers know about this amazing gem. What a blessing they have been to me and I hope that they can be to you as well. Please check out this amazing organization or pass along this helpful info to anyone you may know who could benefit from their support.
With Love, XO