Emerson Harris, founder of Connect4Cancer, lives in Los Angeles, California. She has lost her great-grandmother to cancer. Her grandmother had breast cancer resulting in a mastectomy. Her beloved aunt Terri Freedman died of Glioblastoma. She actively campaigns for those who are currently fighting cancer. She is a leader in the Cancer Awareness Social Media global campaign. She has pledged that in her lifetime there will be a cure for cancer.
Who am I?
I have just graduated as a Trustee Scholar from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California with a B.S. in Biochemistry and minor in Healthcare Studies.
My background includes being a research intern at the Endocrine Oncology Branch of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland for eight weeks. I also have interned in the Yu Lab at the Norris Cancer Center at USC Keck Medical Center for eight weeks. In addition to this experience, I participated in the Childhood Cancer Therapy Development Institute Pediatric Nanocourse in Fort Collins, Colorado where I led a team developing a manuscript of a research roadmap for Epithelioid Sarcoma, a rare pediatric cancer. I worked at the Community Help Desk at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where I assisted patients and their families to mitigate the social determinants of health. Most recently, I have work as a scribe in USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, helping to improve the physician-patient interaction and focus by assisting with recordation.
Most importantly, I try to be a leader in the cancer community. When I was twelve years old I founded Connect4Cancer, a non-profit organization that raises funds for cancer awareness, advocacy, and education. Many people ask me what inspired me to create C4C at such a young age or why I didn’t just make a fundraiser. When I was twelve, my aunt Terri died of Glioblastoma. Her passing devastated my family. However, this event was not my primary inspiration for C4C. I had never really thought about cancer or the severity of the disease until that point. My initial instinct was to help other grieving families like mine. Unfortunately, at the age of twelve there was not much I could do. In fact, there was almost nowhere I could go to have the hands-on experience I wanted. So, I started Connect4Cancer in an effort to provide a resource for younger people and to educate my generation about cancer.
Connect4Cancer has blossomed into more than I could have ever dreamed possible, and I am so thankful for the many people who have helped me along the way.
I think cancer has either directly or indirectly impacted every person’s life. Whether it be a neighbor, friend, or family member, cancer knows no race, no gender, no age. I believe that curing cancer requires more than advocacy and research. To me, curing cancer requires unity and education. More than anything, curing cancer requires the belief that one day cancer will be cured. The time has come to end cancer, and I think everybody - no matter how young...should have a role.
My personal motto is, "WHAT WE GIVE OF OURSELVES, IS WHO WE ARE.". What I give to the fight to cure cancer is who I am.