The Friendly Spot at 943 S. Alamo St.
The Friendly Spot at 943 S. Alamo St. Photo by Chris Day.

It’s difficult not to have been touched by cancer in some way. Most people know someone who has had cancer or who has died from it. In Texas, it is the leading cause of death in persons under the age of 85 and the leading cause of disease-related deaths in children between the ages of one and 14. The Texas Cancer Registry estimates that in 2014, more than 7,000 people will have been diagnosed with cancer in Bexar County, and 2,600 people will have died from cancer.

In 2000, Stuart Bernstein’s father had been diagnosed with cancer. Once the cancer was in remission, Bernstein wanted to do more to help others who had similar stories. The costs associated with cancer are enormous: research, treatment, and post-treatment support requires extensive fundraising. While there are many cancer-oriented organizations, Bernstein realized he was looking for a more grassroots organization that would also encourage young professionals to become actively engaged in the fight against cancer. This population wanted to do more than simply write a check, they wanted to become involved. And so, in 2001, Young Texans Against Cancer was born in Houston with 44 members between the ages of 22 and 45.

The organization now boasts four chapters, with 96 members opening the San Antonio chapter in 2009. It now has more than 300 members in South Texas. Since then, they have raised more than $351,000 in San Antonio to donate to local cancer organizations. One such recipient was ThriveWell Cancer Foundation. The emotional and financial toll upon a family can be enormous during and after cancer treatment. ThriveWell provides physical and financial support to cancer patients and their families throughout the process. They are also involved in clinical trials for new cancer treatments.

YTAC San Antonio hosts several fundraising events throughout the year, such as Movember Madness at the Sporting District and the Annual Bob Conger Golf tournament. In addition to fundraising, YTAC members are actively involved in community projects, such as Methodist Children’s Hospital Christmas Toy Drive.

On Thursday, May 7, the San Antonio Chapter of YTAC will host their 2nd Annual Queso Bowl, where area chefs will compete to offer the Best Queso in San Antonio. Participating establishments include Smoke ShackTacos and TequilaBoiler HouseSoutherleighTBAArcadeOrder-Up and Teka Molino.

The event will be sponsored by Ricos with beer provided by Corona. Last year, Tacos and Tequila took home top honors. The 2015 event will take place from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at The Friendly Spot. Co-owner Jody Newman said that while they are not directly involved with the group, The Friendly Spot is very happy to support a community organization by providing the venue for such a fun event.

This year’s beneficiary will be One Million for Anna, a foundation whose mission is eradicate Ewing’s sarcoma. Recognizing the difficulties young cancer sufferers face, One Million for Anna supports adolescents suffering with cancer.

“Bottom line is that cancer really really stinks, YTAC is a way for young San Antonians to come together to raise money and awareness for something that affects us all. The Queso Bowl is our fun way to ‘chip away’ at cancer,” said Julia Jessee, Chair of the Queso Bowl.

Enjoying queso and beer while fighting cancer, that’s Puro San Antonio.

For more information, contact Julia Jessee julesjessee@gmail.com or Alyson Garth alysongarth@gmail.com, YTAC Queso Bowl Co-Chairs.

*Featured/top image: The Friendly Spot at 943 S. Alamo St. Photo by Chris Day.

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Cherise Rohr-Allegrini

Cherise Rohr-Allegrini is an infectious disease epidemiologist and consultant. She is currently the San Antonio Program Director for The Immunization Partnership. Dr. Rohr-Allegrini was the Pandemic Flu...