|The Kranz Family in 2013. Jennifer is in yellow.|
The other day, I met up with Libby Kranz during a trip we took to Gilroy. Libby is the mom of Jennifer, a six-year-old who died of DIPG February 12 this year. We met at a park. At one point, during respective kid tussling, she started talking to a woman a short distance away. I concluded it was a friend she had run into.
It wasn't. Libby came back, bristling with energy. The woman was a stranger, and Libby had just approached her--a cold call of sorts--to tell her about Jennifer.
She was being brave.
No one wants to walk up to strangers and tell them about a cancer that gives a 9 month life expectancy from diagnosis (Libby's daughter got a third of that time), tell them how only one cent of every dollar donated to the American Cancer Society goes to pediatric cancer, and tell them how the federal government funded pediatric research back in 2008 but then somehow the money has been held up ...
Nothing is going to help Libby's daughter. But something fierce, powerful and brave is going to save other people's daughters and sons. It's Libby, and the awareness she is raising for this devastating monster cancer that steals children. She was talking that day about business cards being printed up, so when she went to talk to people, she'd have a card to hand them. She is focused. She is committed. She is brave.
It's hard to talk about, and hard to think about. Libby admitted on her blog that before her daughter was diagnosed, she too would change the channel when the St. Jude's commercials came on. But the fact is, cancer is only easy to ignore if you don't know someone affected by it--and these days, that sliver of the population is getting smaller and smaller.
What can you do? Read and share Libby's blog. Contribute to the fund at Stanford University where Jennifer's cells are being studied--she had a very aggressive form of DIPG and thus her cells may contain valuable information to unlock this disease. If you feel proactive and want to physically get out there to help the world's children, consider "fluttering" . . . a genius plan of Libby's to both bring awareness to the cause and raise funds.
Being brave isn't just about doing things that scare you. Sometimes it's about stepping up the plate and helping when you can.
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