By Sue Rochman
Remembrance: Randi Rosenberg
By Sue Rochman
Randi Rosenberg, who worked tirelessly to expand awareness of the needs of young cancer survivors, died of breast cancer Feb. 15 in New York City. She was 44, and leaves behind her partner, Matt Purdue, and their 5-year-old daughter, Alexandra.
Rosenberg was 32 and recently diagnosed when she and 13 others founded the first young women’s breast cancer advocacy organization, Young Survival Coalition (YSC), in November 1998. She served on YSC’s board for 12 years, including three years as president. Meanwhile, she also ran her own business, Relevant Marketing.
Rosenberg’s energy and effervescence belied her petite status. “When you walked into a room … if she didn’t know you she’d introduce herself, and if she did she’d wrap her arms around you like you were the one person she couldn’t wait to see,” says fellow YSC co-founder Joy Simha. “She always made you feel like you could accomplish anything.”
In 2006, Rosenberg became a co-chair of the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s Young Adult Alliance, for which she helped develop a report aimed at catalyzing a national movement addressing the needs of young adults with cancer.
“Randi … had this way of dealing with people that was just extraordinary,” says Heidi Adams, the director of grassroots engagement for the foundation. “She’d answer the phone or introduce herself and say, ‘Randi Rosenberg,’ and it was so many different things: It was an opening; it was a declaration; it was an invitation.”
“When we asked her to co-chair the alliance,” Adams says, “she had learned that she’d had a recurrence and she was trying to cut back on her advocacy and she had this small child. But she said, ‘I think I have one more in me.’ And she did.”
(photo: Kevin Tachman)