The b-present Foundation is a nonprofit inspired by and founded in memory of 20 year-old Kirsten Westerman, who lost her 7 month battle with leukemia in 2016. Our work focuses on improving social support so adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer between the ages of 15-39, and their communities of support, stay connected and are supported throughout treatment and beyond. b-present approaches this important work from two angles: preventative and supportive. Creating awareness and providing the support network with tangible tools and guidance to navigate their support experience are vital first steps to preserving and sustaining that important community of support. Our preventative work builds awareness about social support challenges before the point of diagnosis. This is done through our education to the general public about how to create and nurture positive relationships, how to respond to a friend diagnosed with cancer and how to be most supportive in the event it happens. We use digital tools such as our website, blog, social media, email newsletter and podcast to provide this proactive education to the general public. Our supportive work comes after a diagnosis. With so many competing interests and responsibilities, the young adult community struggles to show up how and when they are needed. We address this with informational resources such as our webinar series and supporter roadmap, opening the door to important conversations and providing a clear guide for how to support a diagnosed friend. In addition, our Award Winning digital b-there tool helps patients and their support network communicate and stay connected 24/7 from anywhere. Together these resources improve understanding and ease the burden of requesting and offering support. b-present actively engages with the national AYA community of survivors, supporters, health professionals, researchers and nonprofits. These collaborative relationships allow the diverse needs of the AYA population to stay top of mind. B-present leads monthly meetings with western hospital AYA coordinators, hosts annual community workshops to discuss support gaps, partners with researchers to study the barriers to social support, and starting in 2022 will host an annual AYA Innovation Conference in San Diego to bring together the community and brainstorm solutions that improve social support.
b-present Foundation is a nonprofit focused on ensuring every adolescent and young adult with cancer feels connected and supported