One of the founding principles of the National Collegiate Cancer Foundation is to help young adults and their loved ones impacted by cancer establish a “Will Win” attitude in their fight against cancer. The term has its roots in our founder Dan Waeger’s college experiences. “Waeger Will Win” became Dan’s go-to trash talking phrase for everything from beer pong, fantasy football, intramural sports and most prolifically, on the golf course. The year he tore his ACL at McDaniel College, he was relegated as the coach of his floor hockey team. He would show up to games in a suit, providing horrendously poor direction but always convinced of a victory. That team, like every other team, was named Waeger Will Win.
After Dan was diagnosed, Dan’s friends wanted to show their support. It didn’t take long for the Waeger Will Win mantra to find its way to t-shirts and wristbands, and always in his signature color- green. Waeger Will Win became a symbol of what Dan’s friends loved about him- his goofy confidence, his excitement over making small moments into big moments and his ability to motivate them to break out of their comfort zones with a joking prod. And as his friends saw Dan live with cancer, Waeger Will Win came to represent his desire to make a difference, to never give up, and to acknowledge all the lives he changed while he was here and even since he has been gone. For Dan, Waeger Will Win and the green wristbands became a physical symbol of his favorite quote “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” Although it has been five years since Dan passed away, and there are many who have never taken off their green Waeger Will Win wristbands.
Waeger Will Win is also the name of the blog that Dan and his fiancée Meg wrote once his cancer worsened in 2008. Together, they wanted to honestly share their story of love and optimism as they faced cancer together. They believed that “while cancer may have changed our lives for better or for worse, they are lives that still need to be lived, and in our minds, they are lives worth living.” At its height, the blog was visited by hundreds of thousands of people.
Today, NCCF wants to help other young adults establish a “Will Win” attitude and serve as a means of inspiration and support as they deal with cancer. We hope that you will visit Dan’s blog to learn more about his cancer experience in his own words and NCCF’s founding principles. Please visit http://waegerwillwin.blogspot.com/.
“To those of us on the team fighting cancer, it may seem that some days the challenge is too big, too tough. We hear about those that make it, but a lot of times… we unfortunately hear about those who don’t. In difficult times, we must remember that life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze us and bring us down, but help us discover who we are and the change we can become.”- Dan Waeger (1982-2009)