The Founder - Rico Dence

After running for State Repersenative and  working at Connecticut State Capitol as an assitant clerk.  I would have thought I had the advantage on how to nagavate the system when I was diganosed with cancer. I was wrong!  
On November 22, 2014, I woke up with my eyes so blurry I could no longer read and make out a letter in a book. Take a second and squint until the point that everything seems a little blurry. Well, mine was worse than that.  Have you heard of the term of beer goggles? It is a phenomenon where one own consumption of alcohol makes physically unattractive persons appear beautiful.  Well, I did not consume any beverages the night before, my vision was so blurry, for I could no longer see the beauty of a person from 4 feet away.

With the ultimate concern that I cannot seem to put into words, I immediately called the optometrist, I told them I needed to see them now, not tomorrow but now.  The optometrist said they can see me at 1:30 pm. I thought to myself that is not quick enough. Dam it!  I just have to wait.  The optimists did not know what was going on and told me to make an appointment with a retina specialist.  I told her can you call them and ask if I can get into today? They could fit me in.  ​

The retina specialist said you might have high cholesterol or you might have cancer.  Go get blood work and see me in two weeks. The next day,  I checked myself into the ER.  Within an hour, I was diagnosed with blood cancer and admitted to the hospital.  Two days later, I was transferred to Yale hospital, and place in the Micu unit of the hospital.  The Micu unit is a step down of the ICU.  
After a 10 day stays in the hospital,  I returned to a retina specialist, and he told me my left eye is considered in the blind range, and your right eye is just below from being blind.  Good news your eyesight will get better somewhere from your old eye sight to your currently eye sight.  You will have to wait for 6 to 8 months for your eyes to heal.

This started a whirle wind of questions in my head.  What kind of work can I do when a job application was blurry?  I could not read.  I was border line blind.  The emotions of unkowing who much my eyesight would retuned was hard.  I would not know for the next 6 to 8 months of my life. I was feeling sick, and getting used the side effects of the new medication.  


A person refered me a new roommate, they say he was a nice guy. Well, they were wrong!  He turned out to be addicted to cocaine, a phatoligical lier,  and would threaten me physissically.  Imagine walking into your home and you dont know if your rommate would come up with lies, and say crap like I faked my cancer, and would push open my door and get in my face. He would even throw fake punches. He would not even pay rent. 

6 months later, I was able to read the freeway signs again, so I took a caculated risk. I decied to buy a car, so I could do some photography, and then the next day the head gaskets blew.  No matter what I tried.  Everything went worng.

I became majorlly depressed and had thoughts of sucide.  I need help. I needed to get rid of my roommate, and tried to get my roommate evicted but was unable to do so because I did not have any physical proof.  

I decied to go homeless and get myself checked in the hosptial for I was a major emotional wreck.  I needed help.
It tool me 4 weeks of intensive group therapy and face my emotions of the year to start thinking clearly again. 


I drafted a book called the Vision learning a heart of graditude. By March of 2016, I was out of my depression, and realized that I did not know how to go back to work.  I needed to take a vacation. I needed to create some positive memories. At that time all I can do is talk about my extremely difficult year. Eventhough, I was out of depression,  I was still tramtized by the events,  I needed to cerate positive experinces.  I was like if I went to work what would I tell people.  I came out of major depression and live with a Chronic Myeloid Leukemia.  I decied to travel to the USA, take photos, and interview pastors about the they teach people during difficult times.

Then a person donated a trip to CancerCon held by Stupid Cancer.  I recommed every young adult cancer survivor to attend.  I had a blast, and met alot of friends. A week later, I was invited to attend a party in NYC, and some said, Why dont you advocate for young adults with cancer.  I did not even have to think about it.  I knew this was what I was supposed to do.  That month, I set up ten rallies at 10 different State Capitols.   On June 1, 2016, I set out  on doing the first Great Ribbon Rally.   Read about 1st year of accomplishments.