changing the world requires … partnership

by indepthwraps on February 4, 2011

In an unassuming part of town, in what seems from the outside an unassuming building, there is a team of individuals quite literally changing the world. You would probably drive right by the LIVESTRONG building if you weren’t looking for it. And that’s probably what makes it so appealing. But once you enter, there is an energy that can’t be denied. Though I’m sure there are mundane tasks being handled in some corner of the place, it seems as though everyone there has a finger on the pulse of cancer survivors … and is actually making a difference in that very moment.

It was a strange set of circumstances that brought us to LIVESTRONG‘s doorstep on Tuesday morning…interestingly, during the same week as World Cancer Day, LIVESTRONG‘s first “State of the Foundation” address and on the same day as Lance Armstrong Foundation CEO Doug Ulman’s 10 year anniversary. A FIJI fraternity brother serving in Iraq, Dave Larsen, met Lance and Doug on their USO tour in December. Still don’t really understand the course of events, but somehow Dave told the team about John, our story, and Stick It 2 Cancer. A few weeks later, we received an envelope. Inside was a picture of Dave and Lance, and Doug’s business card.

Hmmm, what to do with this? John decided to send an email on New Year’s. Surprisingly, Doug responded the same day. Thus began an electronic conversation that eventually led to Doug suggesting that we meet with Heidi Adams, Senior Director of Engagement and Grassroots Involvement for LIVESTRONG.

Why did we go?

If you haven’t yet, read John’s email on New Year’s. You’ll learn the personal inspiration Lance was for John…not just in fighting cancer, but in fighting for the cure. In sharing our upcoming trip with a few folks last week, you guys wanted to know what we expected from our meeting. The truth is, we didn’t have any expectations. We just knew that a once in a lifetime opportunity to sit down with people who are real live heroes had presented itself and we weren’t going to turn it down.

What did we learn?

First off, LIVESTRONG is about partnerships <OK, we knew that>. In fact, they are the lifeblood of the organization. And I don’t mean in a “you’re our partner because you gave money” sort of way <though those kinds of partners aren’t bad either>…true partners…in every facet of what they do. From empowering volunteers to create their own LIVESTRONG events, to working alongside groups that some might see as competing organizations (just this week at the LIVESTRONG Assembly, Doug said “We don’t approach this as a competitive game. The thing we’re fighting against is CANCER.”), to mobilizing entire governments, LIVESTRONG creates meaningful, strategic partnerships. Even with its magnanimous reach, LIVESTRONG realizes that they cannot do it all. And real change comes from engaging people…to PARTNER in support of the mission. That resonates with us in a big way.

If you’re reading this, my guess is you probably know about Stick It 2 Cancer. The awareness and solidarity created…as well as the $35,000 for cancer research raised in last year’s campaign is owed completely to our partners…from businesses who took a personal interest in the cause to Facebook fans to walk team members.

Outside of our involvement with LLS’s Light the Night event to find the cure for cancer, we have a few big ideas for cancer survivors (that’s a whole other blog post …or 10). These ideas (or just one of them!) may take years…even decades…to come into existence, or maybe they’ll remain pipe dreams. Only time will tell. But we wanted to talk to someone, someone who had seen ideas come and go for this population, someone who had created something meaningful, someone like Planet Cancer and LIVESTRONG‘s Heidi Adams.

Our conversation with Heidi ran the gamut from our idea to help kids who beat cancer to discussing our own kids dealing with John’s cancer to how to balance life, work, and giving. Heidi is an amazing person and what she has created for young adult cancer patients in planetcancer.com is invaluable <we went there for information and encouragement when John was in treatment>. And, of course, in the spirit of partnerships, LIVESTRONG saw the amazing work she was doing and wanted to get onboard.

We met Doug ..he delayed an interview to talk to us…just to chat. Incredibly down-to-earth and easy to talk to, Doug is definitely one of our real life heroes. Like Heidi, Doug wanted to DO SOMETHING and started his own nonprofit, started it way before his involvement with the yellow-banded crew, the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. We are still humbled by the fact that he reached out to us, regardless of the fact that our efforts last year had nothing to do with LIVESTRONG‘s bottom line.

And that’s typical of the personality of LIVESTRONG. It’s about people, not press (of course, doing the right things naturally leads to press). It’s about the shared mission, not the organization whose banner you’re flying. It’s about results, of course, but also the process of getting those results…and making sure the people driving those results are happy and enjoying their own journey.

We also had the pleasure of meeting Brooke…she’s the voice of @LIVESTRONG and the LIVESTRONG facebook page and usually writes the LIVESTRONG blog. What a strong, dynamic woman who juggles so many balls at once. Brooke came to find us because our friend Tom Martin saw John’s post about the World Cancer Day Quiz, took it, then tweeted LIVESTRONG to find out how he could help. He happened to mention that his friends were in the building…the power of social media…from more than 800 miles away.

Robert gave us the tour of headquarters <the passion he has for the cause is evident in the way he speaks of each memento on the tour>. The art there is amazing…and I probably only captured 50% of it. But even more impressive is the engineering of the building to be energy smart and eco-friendly. I can see how it would be very easy to love working there…and of course, that’s the point.

LIVESTRONG in person is even more genuine than the LIVESTRONG you see online and on television. Serving 12 million cancer survivors who fought and won…and the 1.4 million who will begin the fight this year, and encouraging the use of intelligent resources to research wisely and collaborate effectively to find a cure and reduce the $228 billion that cancer cost our country annually, LIVESTRONG links arms with PARTNERS to honor the fight…and change the world.

stick-it-2-cancer-light-the-night-team

After our visit, we are inspired, impressed…and validated. Real people…just like you …and us…are changing the world.

And as we celebrate World Cancer Day 2011 today, our vision for our family, In-Depth Wraps, and Stick It 2 Cancer … remains one of partnership. Together, we can change the world. How are you partnering to change the world?

  • Tracy Manning

    you are just amazing, wonderful, inspiring, thoughtful, generous, creative, loving, true people – just for a few quick words about you! HONORED to call you friends!

    • indepthwraps

      Thank you so much, Tracy. You are such a big part of our team. And everyday, you show us what it means to be relentless.

  • http://www.lennys.com Bruce Longmore

    Lenny’s is just riding on your coat tails trying to learn and help. Thanks for your inspiaration!!!!

    • indepthwraps

      Bruce, we learn a good bit from you every time we interact. Looking forward to what we’ll do TOGETHER this year to Stick It 2 Cancer.

  • http://www.livestrong.org LIVESTRONG

    It was really great to meet you both. Keep up the good work. We are changing lives together!

  • http://www.livestrong.org Heidi Adams

    To us, YOU are heroes. :-) It was a pleasure to meet you, and we look forward to working beside you on our shared mission to fight cancer.

  • indepthwraps

    Thank you so much for visiting, guys. We were simply inspired by you all. Looking forward to doing great things together!

  • Bill Bingham

    There are few “ah-ha” moments in life. Those that either tell you which way to go, or confirm to you that the path you are on is the right one. Not that you were looking for, or needed to have this one, but I’m so glad you did. It’s rare to find good people doing good works – and doing it well! You guys continue to be my heroes…

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