First Published in Vitals

Cancer is a word no one wants to hear. A diagnosis comes with shock, fear and much heartache. Unfortunately, far too many families are forced to hear it and watch as their loved ones fight to overcome the cruel disease.

Amidst all that pain, however, there are amazing people fighting to help those facing cancer and to eliminate it from our world forever. While they can’t yet offer the cure everyone wants, they are making the journey a little easier and the future outlook brighter.

American Cancer Society

One of the largest and most well-known cancer nonprofits, the American Cancer Society has been fighting cancer for more than 100 years. From programs and services for patients and their families to fundraising and legislative work to find a cure, they are leading the way to a cancer-free future.

Give the Kids the World

Fighting cancer is exhausting, and sometimes families just need a break, to get away from it all. That’s what Give the Kids the World Village in central Florida does. It provides a no-cost, week-long vacation for families across the country as well as meals, transportation and tickets to nearby theme parks like Disney and Universal Studios.

Making Memories

While you’ve probably heard of the Make a Wish Foundation, which grants sick children wishes, Making Memories does the same for women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Their website states: “Our sincere desire is for every terminally ill breast cancer patient to pass from this world, comforted in the knowledge of having left one final beautiful memory for his or her family.”

Cancer Survivors’ Fund

With the tagline “from surviving to thriving,” the Cancer Survivors’ Fund provides cancer survivors with college scholarships and, if needed, prosthetics so they can get back to focusing on the future.

Cancer prevention and education are the aim of They address social health issues around prevention such as environment, nutrition, soda consumption and illiteracy.

Cancer Schmancer

Founded by Fran Drescher of the The Nanny, Cancer Schmancer is dedicated to preventing cancer. After surviving uterine cancer, Drescher founded the organization to “transform women from patients into medical consumers, and to shift this nation’s priority from searching for a cancer cure towards prevention and early detection of cancer.”

Lazarex Cancer Foundation

With the tagline “it’s about living,” the Lazarex Cancer Foundation’s mission is to offer hope, dignity, support and advanced treatments to everyone affected by cancer. They offer patients help and financial assistance with navigating clinical trial options.

Children’s Cancer Connection

The Children’s Cancer Connection provides programs and services to children battling cancer and their families through the entire journey. They offer camps and retreats, hospital-based programs, survivorship services and other programs.

Stand Up to Cancer

Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) brings together researchers, the entertainment industry and the general public to raise awareness and raise funds to help fight cancer. A portion of their manifesto reads: One person every minute, one person in a moment gets lost, gets stolen, gets taken away./Unforgivable./This is where the end of cancer begins.”

Cancer Research Institute

“One cause to cure all cancers” is the tagline of the Cancer Research Institute. They believe the human body can defend itself from cancer and invest in research that manipulates the immune system to do just that. With more than 60 years of dedication, they have seen some amazing breakthroughs and continue the fight.