Meet Your Coordinators: Bilal Mohammad

Here I am with friends from my high school cancer support club, at a March Madness tournament we organized to raise funds for cancer research.

Bilal, right, with friends from his high school cancer support club, at a March Madness tournament they organized to raise funds for cancer research.

My name is Bilal Mohammad and I am so excited about just having joined the YACC team as a communications coordinator! I was raised in the suburbs of North Jersey, and I graduated from NYU with a major in philosophy last spring. I love running, reading the New Yorker, and eating any and all types of cheese.

Why I got involved with YACC
I am passionate about being involved in an organization that fosters community and dialogue for young adults (and their loved ones!) dealing with cancer. As many of my colleagues who are impassioned about this cause, my family has been affected by cancer. My mom has had a number of first-degree relatives who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, and the risk for the disease is about five times higher than average for women with more than two first-degree relatives who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. As you can imagine, for my entire family, there is a certain amount of anxiety and apprehension that precedes the annual mammogram. We’ve gotten through tests, diagnoses, treatments, and remissions together by engaging in honest discussions and relying on a strong network of support. I believe that the emotional and clinical resources that such a network can provide can be incredibly empowering.

I first became involved with cancer support groups in high school. I found myself in the presence of other individuals in my age group whose lives had also somehow been affected by cancer. Sharing our stories and struggles allowed us to grow closer. That experience nestled itself in a very special corner of my life, and I am so grateful for it.

 Young Adults and Cancer
I think that the experience of cancer is incredibly unique for young adults, just as the experience of being a young adult is distinct, and presents its own set of issues and challenges. I think that engaging with other young adults (regarding issues that relate directly to your experience of cancer or not), is important because it creates a safe space for individuals to tell their own stories, to be heard, and to be understood. For me, such a network has been an emotional anchor, and has given me an opportunity to really engage with my own emotions and the stories of others in a way that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise.

–By Bilal Mohammad

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