Meet a Storyprenuer
When my daughter Jenisis was first diagnosed with stage four kidney cancer, she often asked me why God had given her such a trial to contend with. It was heart wrenching not to be able to provide my little “Bean” with a definitive answer. Initially, I was very much paralyzed and unable to function normally in any capacity. I recall waking up every morning during those first several weeks believing that I’d simply dreamed Jenny had cancer because I did not want the disease to be her reality.
I relied on social media to connect with other parents of children with similar diagnoses so I could better understand how to be more responsive and accommodating. I found great comfort in how transparent these kind strangers were with their stories. In particular, a child named Ryan stood out because his family had formed “Team Ryan” to support him through his ultimate victory over childhood cancer. We decided to create our own “Team Jenny Bean” to be the rock on which our little girl could stand and fight.
Team Jenny Bean became a coping tool, positive outlet and brand that allowed me to leverage my marketing expertise to show my child that I was absolutely there for her no matter what. As we lifted Jenny up, Jenny wanted to make sure that other children who were unable to have their own teams present in their hospital rooms still had the support they needed. We decided that Team Jenny Bean could also empower these children and their families with care kits and helpful resources. Just as those kind strangers on social media had shared their stories with me, we began to share the Team Jenny Bean story with our contacts and community.
Our pain became a purpose which became a passion—a passion that resulted in Team Jenny Bean building childhood cancer awareness, garnering national media attention, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations, and receiving an outpouring of empathy and compassion. While going through this journey, my focus remained on seeing Jenny through to wellness. It was only after treatment and a return to normalcy did I understand the full impact of sharing our story. I also began to realize the importance of storytelling in helping to create the positive change we’d all like to see in the world.
Today, I’m proud to be a kind stranger who is able to connect with non-profits and compassionate corporations like you, shape your brand identity, and leverage your stories to build support for your causes.