As a parent of one of Next Step’s youth, I have seen firsthand the impact of this work. Over the years, we’ve striven to provide more opportunities to more young people living with cancer, HIV and rare genetic disorders — and my belief in the power of our programs to make a life-changing difference has only deepened.
2021 brought us challenges that stretched our youth to their limits in order to stay healthy. As a dedicated member of the Next Step community, you stepped up and showed up for our young people in a big way. You provided, hope, connection and FUN when it was needed the most. You enabled us to revamp and expand our community, music and mentorship programs and deliver them virtually — and it made a profound difference.
“I’ve become so much more open and honest about my disease, and I truly understand the reality of it. Next Step has helped me realize I can achieve anything, despite any setbacks or obstacles along the way.”
-NEXT STEP PARTICIPANT, AGE 24
Because of you, we are incredibly hopeful for what’s ahead for Next Step. The future remains uncertain, but we know a few things for sure. We know that there will be more challenges, and we’ll face them headfirst and grow stronger together. We know that when it’s safe for us to meet in person, we will do so. We know that we’ll continue to deliver virtual programs to reach young people who can’t be with us due to their diagnosis, issues of mobility, or vulnerability. And we know that through it all, there will be laughter, silly moments, friendships made, beautiful music, and life lessons.
Thank you for having our backs, making all that we do possible, and believing in the potential of our young people.
Reyn Parsons, Next Step Board Chair