The following guest blog post was written by Staci Shatsoff in memory of Nathan (Nate) Shatsoff, founder of RELENTLESS Against Cancer. Carolinas HealthCare Foundation thanks Staci for her openness and willingness to share Nate’s story and for her passionate pursuit of a world free from cancer.
Staci’s local fundraising efforts through RELENTLESS Against Cancer support Phase I and Phase II cancer clinical research trials at Levine Children’s Hospital.
On February 7, we invite the community to support RELENTLESS Against Cancer by purchasing discounted tickets here (using the code ‘rac’) to the Charlotte Checkers hockey game at the Time Warner Cable Arena. Five dollars from every ticket sold goes to RAC in support of LCH’s clinical trials program.
At the start of 2009, Nathan Shatsoff was a typical college student at UNC-Charlotte, whose greatest worry was a slew of due dates for term papers. All throughout his life, Nate was the kind of person who could make friends instantly and stood out among his peers as a leader, a confidant, and a constant cheerleader towards others.
In March of 2009, at the age of 21, Nate’s life was turned in a completely different direction when he was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer and was given 5 years to live. While he knew a battle of aggressive chemotherapy treatments was up ahead, Nate demonstrated poise, courage, and true character throughout the trials. He constantly affirmed that he was waking up daily to fight his hardest for his family. He was never one to let a challenge or an obstacle get in his way.
At the start of his fight against cancer, Nate said, “There are times when I cannot help but think about the odds and statistics I am up against. Strength is what got me out of that hospital bed and has helped me pick up the pieces of life as I once knew it and carry on. My determination to live a full life must be RELENTLESS. No matter how difficult things may become, I cannot waver.”
Out of his selfless spirit and his true hope to help others, a movement was born that still carries on strong today.
RELENTLESS Against Cancer is a non-profit organization committed to raising funds that support research for the development of treatments that ultimately will eradicate all cancers. Founded in 2010, efforts of the organization include improving existing cancer treatment methods for all types of cancer, developing new treatments for individuals with conditions that are being maintained but not cured, and providing hope for a future that is cancer free while also improving the quality of life for all cancer patients. RELENTLESS Against Cancer organizes events throughout the year, using proceeds to achieve these goals and raise awareness.
Locally, RELENTLESS Against Cancer supports Phase I and Phase II clinical research trials to combat pediatric cancer at Levine Children’s Hospital. These trials are the first steps in finding new treatments for cancer, and they’re the only ones available in all of western and central North Carolina. Local philanthropy allows children in our community who are diagnosed with cancer to receive the best care possible without having to travel a great distance to receive the treatments they need.
“I’m living proof that cancer does not discriminate,” said Nate. “It affects young and old, and therefore we donate our money and time to help find a cure. A world without cancer is our goal. We will not stop until this happens.”
In October 2011, Nate passed away but his mission survived him and continues to grow. Nate’s goal to see cancer wiped out is still at the forefront of the hearts of his family and friends who continue to rally together and push the mission of RELENTLESS outward into the world.
Still today, Nate’s words resound in the hearts of many who loved him and those who will never be fortunate enough to shake his hand: We must be RELENTLESS in our will to live, our faith that we will overcome, and our hope that no one will ever endure cancer treatment again.
For more information on RELENTLESS Against Cancer and founder Nathan E. Shatsoff, please visit: http://www.relentlessagainstcancer.org/