My name is Nazanin Nayeri, and I serve as the Founder and Head of Leads for the Mattel Youth Ambassador Program.
At the beginning of 2019, I was diagnosed with Sarcoma cancer as a senior at El Camino Real Charter High School. After several consultations with the Sarcoma Multidisciplinary team, I started treatment. During treatment, I gained a valuable perspective on life.
I had felt alienated and vulnerable during treatment, with a yearning for my life to go back to normal as a teenager. One night during treatment, it struck me that these feelings must be universal for many pediatric, adolescent, and young adult patients. That same night, I composed a letter to Volunteer Services at UCLA to form a Youth Ambassador Program.
We launched the program in the depths of the pandemic in 2020 and it has been a great success since then. My favorite aspect of this program is seeing the Ambassadors execute their fundraising project plans. For example, Ambassadors use a hobby or talent they cherish and brainstorm innovative methods to create a fundraising project for them to work on. Through this program, Ambassadors are exposed to fundraising, project planning, brainstorming, and innovative skills to bring their project plan to fruition. I also value how our program is constantly evolving to better meet the needs of our Ambassadors.
The Sarcoma Multidisciplinary team, Dr. Fritz Eilber, Dr. Anusha Kalbasi, and the Radiation Oncology Department have all played a significant role in my health journey. I truly admire every member and believe that every single one of them has inspired me to flourish into the individual I am today. Last, this program means a lot to me and I am grateful to the team members behind the Mattel Youth Ambassador Program.