The YATS

 

Young Adults Taking a Stand [Against Cancer] was founded in 2008 by Diana Noveck, Mary Kathryn Rodrigue, and Ryan Goyette.  Soon after, Jamie Touchton joined YATS as the Assistant Director of Operations and Events.

 

 

 

 

 

Diana Noveck, Co-Founder/Chairman of the Board

It was the fall of 2007 when Diana first heard the dreaded words… “you have stage 2B atypical squamous cells.” Huh? “You have cervical cancer.” Typically, this would not have been such a tragedy because cervical cancer is one of the slowest growing cancers out there. In Diana’s case however, it was far more advanced than anyone could understand.  She was 30 years old, had been married for 2 years and had an 18 month old son (thank God).  One week later, Diana underwent a radical hysterectomy. 3 weeks following surgery she began intense chemotherapy with simultaneous daily radiation therapy.  Treatment sucked, but between the chemo, hydration inoculations, radiation, pic line dressing changes, doctors’ visits, and medication overload, it was a whirlwind that she soldiered through. It was her ‘job’ at the time to be a cancer patient. When she made the cut-over to cancer survivor, that is when the inner struggle truly arose.  Diana’s real healing only began when she met the girls and formed Young Adults Taking a Stand [Against Cancer]. And that, they say, is YATS history. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary Kathryn Rodrigue, Co-Founder/Chairman of the Board

In 2002, Mary Kathryn’s husband, Drew Rodrigue, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at 20 years old. At the time, Mary Kathryn was studying business at the University of Alabama and was taking a psychology class as an elective. Something in that class clicked for her, and she changed her major. After several years of additional study, Mary Kathryn earned her Ph.D. and now works in the field of psychosocial oncology as the Director of Survivorship at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center.

Then in 2008, and her sister-in-law Melanie Clabert, was also diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at 27 years old. It was then that she started to investigate support resources available for young adults, and found nothing local. Enmeshed in cancer both personally and professionally, Mary Kathryn really wanted to get involved and create a supportive service for young adults that didn’t look like the traditional formal support group and reflected the unique needs of this age demographic. While working with “the other” Mary Catherine (MC) Moffett with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, she introduced me to two amazing survivors, Ryan Goyette and Diana Noveck. After casually meeting after work on several occasions to discuss the lack of support for young adults, YATS Against Cancer was born.

After a seven year courageous battle, on August 15, 2009, Mary Kathryn’s husband, Drew passed away. His resiliency inspires YATS daily.  “Experience is not what happens to a man, but what a man does with what happens to him,” Aldous Huxley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ryan Goyette, Co-Founder/Chairman of the Board

Ryan was just shy of her 25th birthday when she moved to New Orleans and landed her dream job.  Soon after, she randomly found a lump in the pit of her underarm and was diagnosed with advanced Stage III Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Cancer.  After enduring six months of chemotherapy and two months of radiation, Ryan was left bald, 30 pounds overweight, and terrified. 

Once in remission and although her family and friends were extremely supportive, she felt isolated with no one who could truly relate.  Confused and frustrated with “survivorship” as a young adult, she met Mary Kathryn Rodrigue, Diana Noveck, and Mary Catherine Moffitt…thus began YATS, Young Adults Taking a Stand [Against Cancer].

“I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.” Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jamie Touchton, Assistant Director, Operations and Events

Bio to come….