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rodr0108

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THE SAMFund
July 21, 2009

The SAMFund provides an amazing source of support for an underserved population- young adult survivors of cancer. In my case, I was too old for most grants and scholarships, but due to the nature of my field of work (independent contractor in the musical arts) I did not have the kind of safety net that most people my age had: insurance benefits and one steady source of income that I could count on to help me get back on my feet post-treatment. Most of the scholarships and/or grants I came across during my research had narrow targets and missions, which is great and necessary to serve the populations they serve. However, it raised serious questions for me- questions that I had not had to encounter before: as an artist, my life and career path were pretty divergent from most people's- was that a mistake? Was the career success I'd had prior to cancer useless to me now that I was fighting for my life? The SAMFund had a very large part in convincing me that was not the case. With their support, I recently traveled to Italy to begin my first exploratory return to opera singing. It was a test for me- did I still have what it takes to work in this field? Do I still have the passion after two years of treatment and healing? Is it worth it? Should I just go get an office job and give up what was my life's work? After 5 weeks of working with a dedicated teacher, and studying with coaches from the world's most prestigious opera companies, the answer was a resounding, "No!" This answer didn't only come from inside myself- I was continually pulled aside by various members of the faculty for conferences in which I was offered support and encouragement by people who had worked with the best singers in the business. To think- just a few months before this program I had given up singing for quite a while, not sure how I was going to get back on my feet with such huge financial obstacles standing in my way. At the present moment, I am preparing to move closer to the teacher I studied with at the program- his conservatory has recruited me to do a year of intense private study with him in preparation for a relaunching of my career. None of this would have been possible without the support of the SAMFund, and I will be eternally grateful to them that they understand that young adults have specific needs and challenges surrounding encounters with cancer- needs and challenges that are different from other populations.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

both my own life, and in the lives of friends and acquaintances who have had cancer.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

continue its focus on the young adult population, as it is underserved in the cancer arena, and possibly push for a more national media presence, using the amazing stories of its grant recipients and founder.

More feedback

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

that they are clearly motivated and focused solely on serving the needs of their grant recipients.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

I did not actually meet any staff members, but I hope to in the near future. In all of our communications, they were extremely helpful and focused on helping me.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Change many more lives.

Ways to make it better...

I can't think of anything right now.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

of course, every non-profit is challenged with finding monetary support.

One thing I'd also say is that...

they are truly on the right track.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

MY ROLE:
Client Served & I applied for, and received a grant from the SAMFund.