It’s the ninth day of my 12 Days of Charitable Giving for 2019. Readers have suggested deserving charities over the past few weeks, and I’ll be posting the results here. Today’s charity is 13thirty.

13thirty Cancer Connect, Inc. was established in 2001 following the death of Melissa Sengbusch who was 19 years old when she died of acute myeloid leukemia. Since its beginning (first called Melissa’s Living Legacy Teen Cancer Foundation), 13thirty has focused on teens and young adults with cancer.

Each year in the United States, approximately 82,000 newly diagnosed adolescent and young adults (AYAs) undergo treatment for cancer. Treatment for AYAs is usually more aggressive than that of their adult counterparts — with debilitating, and often long-term, side effects. The average treatment lasts two years.

Not yet fully matured adults and no longer children, teens and young adults are often caught in a healthcare void – somewhere between the juvenile décor of a pediatric hospital and the quiet, harsh reality of an adult clinic. They fit neatly into neither. 13thirty Cancer Connect is dedicated to bridging this gap in service.

So how can you help?

To make a one-time or monthly donation, click over to the website

For federal income tax purposes, if you plan to claim a deduction for a cash contribution, you’ll want to keep a record of the donation. Ideally, the organization will provide a written record with the name of the charity, date, and amount of the contribution.

You can also go Bald for Bucks. As part of this fundraiser, participants collect pledges to have their hair shaved or cut to support adolescent and young adult patient care programs at Wilmot Cancer Center, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and 13thirty Cancer Connect. Anyone can cut your hair – or you can do it yourself (read the rules first). You can find out more here.

Remember that raising money for charity is appreciated, but will not result in a bigger tax deduction on your tax return. Money that you collect from other people does not count towards the amount that you’ll report as a donation on your individual tax return (but money that you may donate in the fundraiser does count, even if you’re the organizer).

Do your homework. 

As always, you want to make sure that your donation is going to a qualified charitable organization. A search using the IRS’ new Tax Exempt Organization Search (formerly Select Check) reveals that 13thirty is on the list. A heads up: 13thirty is listed as 13thirty Cancer Connect Inc. (the formal name). Remember to check alternate spellings and capitalizations when searching if you don’t succeed at first – or check using an organization’s employer identification number (EIN) which is typically available on their website.

To find out more about the work of the organization, check out their website, like them on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter or Instagram.

I often suggest checking out third-party sites like Charity Navigator for more information about charitable organizations, including evaluations and access to tax forms and other financials. 13Thirty is not ranked on Charity Navigator because it has less than $1 million in annual revenue (you can find out how to evaluate an unrated charity here).

Remember: Readers nominate their favorite charities to the 12 Days of Charitable Giving, and in most cases, I can’t personally vouch for the organizations. So be generous but be smart: Do your homework.

For more on making charitable donations, click here.

For other charities in the series: