The origin of the Alliance begins with Reid R Sacco, a young man who, shortly after being accepted to Columbia University and just a few weeks before graduating high school, was diagnosed with a cancer seen predominately in adolescents and young adults. Two years later, Reid Sacco had lost his courageous and inspiring battle with that cancer. But during that period, he dreamed not only of finally attending Columbia but also of starting a movement to find better treatments -- and someday a cure -- for the cancers striking his age group.
Driven by his inspiration, we are carrying this dream forward to give to others, in the form a non-profit charitable organization that will support scholarship and research. We have set up this Alliance, in Reid's honor, to make sure that other young adults like Reid will never need to abandon their dreams of college and a long, healthy life ahead. The Alliance will support those who aspire to excellence in education. It will support research programs that aspire to conquer cancers like the one that took Reid's life.
In 2005, we launched the Reid R Sacco Memorial Foundation as an organization of volunteers that would raise awareness and funds to fight the cancers striking adolescents and young adults.
In 2013, we changed the name of this organization to the Reid R. Sacco AYA Cancer Alliance to better reflect the mission and focus of this organization.
The Reid R. Sacco AYA Cancer Alliance is an organization of volunteers committed to remembering Reid by doing everything possible to prevent what happened to him from happening to other young adults and adolescents with cancer. These volunteers form essentially what is a community of family, friends and acquaintances from all over. This community's commitment takes the form of advocacy for the Alliance's mission of supporting research directed at finding better treatments and someday a cure for the cancers that strike adolescents and young adults. It spreads a message about awareness of a disease not readily anticipated in young adults and one that is often diagnosed much too late for the disease to be curable. Much of the time, this community of volunteers is raising funds to benefit the Reid Sacco AYA Cancer Fund through any number of large and small fund-raising events, like Reid's Ride. The governance of the Reid R Sacco AYA Cancer Alliance is simple and reflects the community basis of the organization. Two boards, a senior board and a junior board, meet frequently to plan events and make decisions. A separate board reviews applications for the Reid Sacco Memorial Scholarship, and selects its winners.
The Reid Sacco AYA Cancer Fund is a field-of-interest fund managed by the Essex County Community Foundation in Danvers, Massachusetts (ECCF). ECCF also manages the Reid Sacco Memorial Scholarship Fund. ECCF is a charitable organization with 501 (3)(c) status managing dozens of funds and charitable trusts like ours. Our partnership with ECCF means that donations to either of the two funds qualify as tax-deductible charitable donations. This partnership allows us to take advantage of ECCF's expertise in managing the complex financial, regulatory, and tax details associated with a non-profit organization. In addition to helping us keep our administrative costs low, ECCF also promotes our two funds to philanthropic organizations and individuals. Most importantly, this partnership allows us to focus on what's most important right now: fund-raising and awareness.
The Alliance objectives are simple:
To raise sufficient funds to allow us to provide meaningful and sustainable support of leading-edge scientific and clinical research specifically directed at finding better treatments and cures for the cancers predominantly striking young adults
To grant one or more scholarships each year to high school seniors demonstrating academic excellence, the pursuit of good health and physical fitness, excellent peer leadership, and outstanding character.
To help others achieve two goals that Reid could not attain before his premature death, those being: a) to attend the college of his choice; and b) to survive cancer. To this end, the mission of the Alliance is to provide a fundraising and educational organization from which to promote scholarship, medical research, and other benevolent purposes that, directly or indirectly, correlate with the values, ambitions, and life of Reid Sacco.
To one day be regarded as an organization that has effectively provided pivotal funding and/or the impetus for having found a cure or effective long-term treatment for the sarcomas and other cancers that primarily affect adolescents and young adults. Our dream is to awake one day to the realization that these cancers have become routinely curable.
The Alliance, its officers, and its volunteers pledge to operate with the same values that defined Reid's life and character:
Taking personal initiative; setting aggressive goals for one’s self and one’s peers; and setting the example for living the values.
Reaching out with compassion and thoughtfulness without hesitation.
Giving one’s time and resources when and where needed.
Challenging the way things are done and challenging the answers that are given.
Continuing to fight the good fight, regardless of the obstacles and pain.
Making fear secondary in importance to everything else.
Respecting one’s body and the value of exercise and clean living.
Setting high one’s goals for life-long learning, and employing formal education, scholarship, and self-improvement to achieve them.
Acknowledging the critical importance of family and friends, and recognizing the support they provide in good times and in bad.