Social Impact Heroes: Why & How Tracy Weiss of The Chick Mission Is Helping To Change Our World

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Everyone will have an opinion on what you are doing right or wrong. You must stay true to your mission, stay in your lane and you will have the best results as you grow.

As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tracy Weiss.

Tracy Weiss is a cancer survivor who was diagnosed with cervical cancer at age 30. Tracy was pretty annoyed when her insurance company denied her claim to preserve her fertility under it being ‘elective’ — as if having a tumor was something anyone would choose, and remained frustrated until The Chick Mission was founded to help women standing in her shoes. Tracy serves as our Executive Director and Chief Creative Officer with her magical blend of Email Inbox Management and OddBall Ideas.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

No one asks to have cancer and cancer does not care who you are and what is happening in your life. A diagnosis is something thrown at you and is incredibly overwhelming. You’re met with so many choices, hefty bills, fear and pain: both emotionally and physically. To stay afloat, you have to dig deep within yourself at your weakest and find a way to put one foot in front of the other. Finding a community where you can share your thoughts no matter what they are is tantamount.

Amanda Rice, The Chick Mission’s founder, had cancer three times before she turned 40. I’m a cancer survivor myself. We bonded over our experiences — particularly when it came to the lack of support and the archaic bureaucracy around fertility benefits. Together, we knew we wanted to start a community and movement that could create real, impactful change.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?

We’re so passionate about the work we do to support fellow cancer survivors in real time to make their dreams of starting a family come true — but our efforts are only a Band-Aid on the issue. To see the impact we’ve been able to have on legislative change mandating health insurance providers cover fertility preservation for cancer patients keeps us going. We’ve appeared at multiple statehouses to advocate about this issue — and one of our proudest moments was the 2019 passing of New York’s fertility coverage mandate, which requires insurers to cover medically necessary egg freezing.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Our organization originally called our grant program “Hope Scholarships” because it made sense that need-based funding was a sort of financial aid. Since there’s nothing scholastic about cancer, it was a total misnomer!

Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?

We make parenthood possible for cancer survivors — specifically, young women.

With a cancer diagnosis comes a flurry of decisions to make, and fast. What treatment plan makes sense? How is the prognosis? But only 50% of oncologists ask female patients to consider, What should I do to preserve my fertility? A lesser-discussed side effect of common cancer treatments is the high-likelihood of infertility. Despite this startling fact, very few insurance programs offer support to cancer patients.

In 39 states, many major insurance companies refuse to cover the cost of egg or embryo freezing as it is deemed “elective,” even for cancer patients whose treatment (radiation, chemo) will damage their reproductive eggs. Egg freezing and fertility treatments cost women an average of $15,000 to $20,000, plus storage fees: a rainy day fund that many don’t have sitting around. That’s where The Chick Mission steps in — we strive to give women between 18–40 options regarding a future family before cancer makes decisions for them. We provide financial grants to young women with cancer through their Hope Grant Patient Program and have awarded over 350 in the past five years. Our team also rallies around legislation in select states, working to give more cancer patients fertility benefits.

There’s also an element to our mission surrounding education. We bring experts to women’s groups of any size in any state to give them the 101 re: fertility and how to advocate for their own health, reproductive or otherwise. Knowledge is power and arming young women with information to make their own informed choices is everything.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

Every Hope Grant recipient we meet truly inspires us. But one in particular that stands out is Roshni Kamta, who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 22. She has been incredibly vocal and honest about her experience, using social media, humor and memes in a way that has created conversation — and some levity — around an otherwise hefty topic. As she sums it up: “My insurance told me they do not cover fertility treatment until you are deemed infertile, which would mean after I am put into menopause, as a result of chemotherapy treatment. I thought about the logic of this; no one would give you a life vest after you have already drowned, right?” And we couldn’t be more impressed with her honesty and boldness to speak out around the subject.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

  1. Federal and State Politicians must pass legislation that mandates insurance companies cover fertility preservation for cancer patients who will be rendered infertile by the treatments that will save their lives. 90 percent of young adults who are diagnosed with cancer between 18–40 will survive and go on to live healthy and full lives. I am all in favor of utilizing ALL means necessary to save a life, however, I’d ask politicians to consider the quality of life lived on the other side. If this means pushing insurance companies to cover fertility preservation, so be it. It makes sense for the patients and it makes dollars and cents sense as well!
  2. National ______ (Fill in the Blank) Days on Social Media are nice to create awareness of issues, but if we don’t create action plans to take steps towards productive solutions — so what? Cancer patients and survivors don’t want to wear a pink ribbon to show their otherness, they want to work with their communities to enact change for those who come after them. Candid Real Talk conversations about the challenges of illness at a young age go much further than internet memes.
  3. Society places a lot of importance on motherhood and milestones associated with kids. “Are you having kids? When? Why Not?” — I would always suggest getting to know a human before you ask about her reproductive choices (or not.)

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

We like to lead by example — since that’s what The Chick Mission is all about: a grassroots movement that brings voices together to create change. To be a great leader is to inspire others to take action and much of that happens through unfettered dialogue and vulnerability. If I want others to share their experiences and stories to further our goals in changing how people look at cancer and family, I have to be open about my own. Speaking about my own diagnosis, (cervical, 13 years ago) was something that took practice. I didn’t want to burden others with my intense feelings, dark humor or grief. It turns out, those are the very things many people can relate to.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why..

There are a lot of things I have learned along the way — however, I would have loved for someone to remind me that

  • Everyone will have an opinion on what you are doing right or wrong. You must stay true to your mission, stay in your lane and you will have the best results as you grow.
  • Always find the people who are passionate about the organization and ask them to take ownership over initiatives using their own ideas and fervor. Decisions coming from the top down to volunteers never work.
  • Always admit when you have no idea what someone else is talking about or what is going on.
  • If you do not have your PHD in Excel or Google Sheets, then learn. Fast.
  • Hearing ‘NO’ is just another opportunity to go back to the drawing board and try again.

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I would call it “Put your Mouth Where Your Money Is.” Talk. Share. Create. If there’s a cause that speaks to you, show up and start conversations. Find a way to join up and jump into the fray. Dollars In or not!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“The Only Way Out Is Through” — when faced with ANY challenge that gives you that pit in your stomach or scrambles your brain. You have to continue to push your way forward inch by inch, hour by hour to get to the other side.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?

We’re diehard fans of The Chicks — and have rocked out in the pit at many of their shows over the past year. We love how they’re not afraid to speak their minds and stand up for a cause. Not to mention their insane talent. The Chicks linking up with The Chick Mission… Could you ask for a more perfect meet-up ?!?

How can our readers further follow your work online?

You can stay up-to-date with all-things The Chick Mission by giving us a follow on Instagram: @chickmission. You can also head to and sign up for our monthly newsletter, The Chirp!

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

Social Impact Heroes: Why & How Tracy Weiss of The Chick Mission Is Helping To Change Our World was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.