How did you get involved with Kids Rock Cancer?
I started getting involved in the St. Louis philanthropic community back in 2008 after I had recovered from Stage 2 breast cancer. My dear friend Peggy Michelson had initially put me in touch with another organization that she was involved with at the time, Gateway to Hope.
Recognizing my passion for working with organizations such as Gateway to Hope, Peggy reached out to me about a new program that Maryville University was developing. I loved her excitement about the visit to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston (to learn about a songwriting program there called Purple Songs can Fly) and energy to make the concept a reality. I was immediately connected to what I heard, because of my own experience with cancer, but also because of the mission to support children with something that I love—music. I attended the first Kids Rock Cancer event at Steve Straub’s house and supported the organization by attending many of the very memorable events over years. I was thrilled when Tom Eschen recently reached out to me to become more involved through the Advisory Council. It’s an exciting opportunity to collaborate with other council members to continue expanding the vision and evolving the mission of the organization.
Why are you passionate about Kids Rock Cancer?
My passion for Kids Rock Cancer begins with my own experience. As I went through my cancer treatment, each week after chemotherapy, I looked forward to sitting down to watch “So You Think You Can Dance.” Watching the amazing dancers put on magical performances to songs that I loved made me forget, if only for a few hours, how awful I felt. It brought me joy to imagine myself as one of those dancers—being strong, healthy and happy again.
I couldn’t imagine having cancer as a kid and losing precious moments of childhood to a disease that you have no control over. When I heard about the concept of using music therapy to help children, in a very unique way, express their feelings and emotions as they went through treatment—I thought it was brilliant!
There are no words to describe the dedication and compassion of the music therapists and Kids Rock Cancer staff, as well as everyone else who is involved in supporting the organization. It’s truly amazing!
I’ve recently taken a career path that affords me the opportunity to help healthcare providers use innovative technology to improve patient outcomes. The insight that I have gained by working in the Health and Life Sciences industry will allow me to contribute to Kids Rock Cancer in ways that I would have never before imagined—and that fuels my passion even more!