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Jen_G

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Review for Cure Starts Now Inc, Cincinnati, OH, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

Some people occasionally donate time and money to non-profit organizations, which is wonderful because volunteers are invaluable. But I have chosen to work day in and day out for The Cure Starts Now Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to finding the 'homerun cure' for all cancers by focusing on DIPG - one of the most deadly pediatric brain tumors.

When I tell people that I work for a non-profit, I always get questions like, 'Is that a stable job?', 'Do you even make enough money?' Going in I knew that non-profits traditionally paid less than for profit jobs, I mean after all they are in the business of furthering a cause, not lining their pockets. For me, I get more satisfaction than just making a paycheck. I am excited to wake up and go to work, because it is another chance for me to help another child or another family. I had an 'Aha!' moment a few years ago where I knew that this was something bigger than just me, and that I needed to be involved with this cause.

So why am I inspired to give my time when I could work anywhere else? My boss lost her 6-year-old daughter, Elena, to DIPG. Chances are you are wondering what DIPG is. It stands for diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. In laments terms, it is a brain stem tumor that isn't a solid mass, think of it as a jelly fish with tentacles that basically wraps itself around the nerves in your brain stem cutting off basic vital functions. The saddest part - DIPG typically affects children between the ages of 5-7 with less than 300 diagnosed a year in the world.

I never got to meet Elena, but she and all of the other children and families I have met inspire me to spread awareness about DIPG everywhere I go. Over the last four years that I have worked for The Cure Starts Now I have heard the term DIPG too many times. I could never imagine being a parent and hearing the words 'Your child has cancer,' or 'There's nothing we can do'.

I am inspired by the strength and tenacity of these families to just keep going when they are at the darkest points in their lives. Instead of just crawling under a rock when the last thing you want to do is talk to people, these families put themselves out there because they want to make a difference. They don't want another family to have to go through the heartbreaking experience that they did.

One particular person that I had the privilege of meeting was Lauren Hill, the 19-year-old college basketball player who battled DIPG that inspired the nation last year. Lauren much like my boss, Lauren knew that what she was doing to advocate awareness and funds for research wouldn't help her in her battle, but it would help the next family, until there were no more next families.

I have never experienced the loss of a close family member or friend due to cancer, which is typically the number one reason a person would get involved with an organization such as The Cure Starts Now. But as I grew closer with the Hill family, I knew that once Lauren passed away it would hit me hard, and it did. I am actually getting teary-eyed typing this. What I took away from Lauren was this, 'I never gave up for a second, even when they told me that I had a terminal diagnosis. I never thought about sitting down and not living life anymore.'

Lauren's motto was 'never give up', myself and all of the other people that work tirelessly for The Cure Starts Now institute that in our daily lives. We might not have a fundraiser that does well, we might hear the story of another child who passes away, our researchers might not get the best results on a study they are doing, but do we give up? No. Never. I will keep working everyday until we cure cancer and I can put myself out of a job. I will do it for Elena, Lauren and the children who are yet to come.

That's my 'why', what's yours?

Learn more about The Cure Starts Now at www.thecurestartsnow.org.

Role:  General Member of the Public