“Ivory Coast, 1978. Family and friends gather at Aya’s house every evening to watch the country’s first television ad campaign promoting the fortifying effects of Solibra, “the strong man’s beer.” It’s a golden time, and the nation, too–an oasis of affluence and stability in West Africa–seems fueled by something wondrous.
Who’s to know that the Ivorian miracle is nearing its end? In the sun-warmed streets of working-class Yopougon, aka Yop City, holidays are around the corner, the open-air bars and discos are starting to fill up, and trouble of a different kind is about to raise eyebrows. At night, an empty table in the market square under the stars is all the privacy young lovers can hope for, and what happens there is soon everybody’s business.”
Aya tells the story of its nineteen-year-old heroine, the studious and clear-sighted Aya, her easygoing friends Adjoua and Bintou, and their meddling relatives and neighbors. It’s a breezy and wryly funny account of the desire for joy and freedom, and of the simple pleasures and private troubles of everyday life in Yop City. An unpretentious and gently humorous story of an Africa we rarely see-spirited, hopeful, and resilient–Aya won the 2006 award for Best First Album at the Angoulême International Comics Festival. Clément Oubrerie’s warm colors and energetic, playful lines connect expressively with Marguerite Abouet’s vibrant writing.”
August marks a very important milestone in my life. I’m proud to say that as of the 23rd I am officially 10 years cancer free. With this in mind, The Dear Jack Foundation is embarking on our most ambitious fundraising effort to date. We call it the 72k Challenge.
Each year there are 72,000 newly diagnosed Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) cancer patients. The AYA population consists of young adults ages 15-39 years of age. Our goal is to raise $72,000, one dollar for each newly diagnosed AYA patient and use those dollars to fund initiatives that make a difference in their lives.
For 10 years, Dear Jack has been working hand in hand with philanthropic organizations to advocate on behalf of this underserved community. Our efforts have funded college scholarships for young adult cancer survivors, added more than 1000 new names to the bone marrow registry, supported one of the first AYA medical fellowship programs and provided AYA cancer patients and survivors with opportunities to attend adventure camps with their peers, just to name a few. This year we are gearing up to execute the first ever program, wholly conceived, funded and organized by the DJF. We will be hosting a series of one day seminars targeting AYA cancer patients as they transition from treatment into survivorship. This is a particularly precarious time for young adults and we are hopeful that our work in this area will give those attending essential tools for a healthy transition into their lives, post cancer.
You can also help by joining us on Thunderclap. Thunderclap is a tool that lets our message be heard when you and your friends say it together. Think of it as an “online flash mob.” We can share the same message at the same time spreading it through Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Once we reach 500 people supporting the 72k challenge on Thunderclap our message will launch together!