In Part 1 of my interview Celebrating Sy’s Fund, we read about the motivation behind Lorraine Kerz’s creation of this amazing non-profit serving Young Adults going through cancer.
Often when we take on big visions, we can come up against roadblocks that can either stop us or give us the opportunity to dig deeper and find what we need to stay in action toward our goals.
Clearly, nothing was going to stop Lorraine from making a difference for young adults in memory of her son.
What were some of the challenges you faced, Lorraine?
Well, I face challenges every day. I had never done nonprofit work before, so jumping into this fund has been a real learning experience. Pulling together a board, doing the paperwork to become a 501(c)(3), and fundraising have all brought their own challenges as well as rewards. We now have a strong board and are working on new fundraisers and ideas all the time.
I have to say that the biggest challenge I face is the fact that so many young adults need this fund, and we are having trouble bringing money in fast enough to serve everyone. It weighs on me every time a new application comes in and the funding is not there.
Still, each eligible applicant gives me the courage to think outside of the box and to
go to businesses in that applicant’s area to seek support with fulfilling their request if we cannot fulfill it ourselves at that time. Knowing what courage it takes to fight cancer as a young adult, and the challenges they face each day, gives me the incentive to move forward with conviction.
What strengths or tools did you tap into to overcome those challenges?
I would say determination, or stubbornness if you will, runs in my family. I watched Silas use it to his advantage during his battle with cancer, and if he could do it on such a huge scale, then I can certainly find that quality in myself to move the fund forward. I also know that Sy’s Fund is doing great work by making a difference in each life we touch. I truly believe that each request we are able to fulfill has made a difference.
I also believe that down the road this fund will be self-sustaining; that is my goal, to leave this earth knowing that Sy’s Fund will continue to do the important work of uplifting young adults with cancer. So I would have to say that my ability to believe in a dream, in the magic of life, even during rough times, is a strength I try to remember and have relied on throughout my life (and a strength I admired in my son as well).
Is there anything else you would like to share? Major insights or impact creating this has had in your life?
With over 70,000 young adults being diagnosed in the USA every year, and with so little focus on the young adult cancer community, I know that Sy’s Fund is needed. We provide something for the here and now, which is unique.
I have a lot of respect for the young adult community and feel honored and privileged to be doing this work. Recognizing how difficult it is to be a young adult fighting this disease, I feel it is the least I can do.
Also I would like your readers to know that any donation, large or small, is needed to allow us to fund our applicants as quickly as possible, and is greatly appreciated. We are also always looking for people who are willing to work on fundraisers in their area for Sy’s Fund. And most importantly, if you know of any young adults who can use our fund, please pass the info along. Thank you.
As with so many of the incredible people making a difference in the community touched by cancer, it has been an honor to interview Lorraine and share more information about this amazing mission she is on with Sy’s Fund. Sy lives on through your legacy of giving you have created in his name and I am humbled by his courage…and yours.
Lorraine listed three great ways to support Sy’s Fund ~ through direct donations, doing a local fundraiser on behalf of Sy’s Fund or just sharing this blog post with anyone you know who may want to know about the organization because they like to make a difference or know a young adult who may be in need. Please…pass it on.