The shirt says it all

Yael Cohen, the South African founder of the nonprofit Fuck Cancer is as direct as it gets about her mission.

When it comes to our feelings about cancer, we don't feel the need to be polite. A sentiment shared, it seems, by Yael Cohen, the founder of Fuck Cancer — a charity aimed to spread education about the disease. She first printed her message on a t-shirt when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. Quickly, one tee turned into thousands and today the 26-year-old finds herself at the helm of an inspiring, creative, and innovative non-profit. In a few down moments, Yael gave us a glimpse into her journey.

How it all started:
I never intended on starting a charity. I just made my mom a shirt that said “Fuck Cancer” after her first surgery, and it really grew very organically — and fast — from there.

What it’s all about:
We activate Generation-Y to engage with their parents about early detection of cancer, preventative lifestyles, and communication around cancer. We build tools and campaigns that people can relate to — technology, humor, and celebrities.

The craziest thing she’s learned about cancer:
90 percent of cancers are curable if caught in stage one. So why the hell aren't we taught to look for them? We have to stop waiting to get cancer and praying there's a cure. Early detection saved my mom's life. I will forever sing its praises.

What she wishes she knew a few years ago that she knows now:
Finding a way to cleanse and recharge is essential. Endorphins and exercise are my lifesavers. I sweat out the day so that I can go back and do it all again tomorrow.

The best piece of advice she’s ever gotten:
You have to take care of yourself to take care of others.

Her favorite workout:
I love workouts that consume me mentally and physically. The endorphins are magical.

What she doesn’t want to do in the gym:
Running long distances is pretty much a punishment to me.

How she keeps herself accountable:
I schedule a workout like I would any other meeting. Getting my sweat on first thing in the morning is best. There are no meetings, calls, or work. No excuses.

The five foods that are always in her fridge:
Homemade red wine vinaigrette, fresh chopped veggies, hummus, fresh fruit, and chocolate.

Her vices:
Sweets. I love chocolate and baked goods. It's dangerous.
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