Society Member Spotlight: Jennifer Kent – “Dream Support Grant” Recipient- Part 2
By B. Pasapane on Jun/13/2016
Congratulations to “Dream Support Grant” recipient Jennifer Kent, from the Society chapter at Southern New Hampshire University - College of Online and Continuing Education.
A few weeks ago, we introduced Jennifer Kent, who joined the Society chapter at Southern New Hampshire University in September 2014. As a “Dream Support Grant” recipient, she is writing a children’s book about childhood cancer. When it is complete, she is planning a special volunteer event to coincide with the book’s release.
Today we are happy to share with you part two of Jennifer’s progress toward fulfilling her dream.
Click here to read Part One.
“Dream Support-Part 2”
By: Jennifer Kent
As a childhood cancer survivor, a dream of mine has always been to write a children’s book, in hopes that my story inspires children in similar circumstances. A piece of my dream is also to be able to read that book to current patients at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Mass. During this process, I have had to call on the most important thing I learned during my time in the Society, which is, “never give up or take no for an answer.”
As it turns out, I will not be able to go to the hospital and read my book because this group of patients have compromised immune systems, and there are privacy laws in place that prevent me from meeting them. But I have learned that when an obstacle arises, you must regroup and find a way around or through it.
I originally planned to use my “Dream Support Grant” funds to create t-shirts to hand out to patients during the event at the hospital. However, after a lot of thought, I decided to make gift bags to give to the patients instead.
Since I am also a patient of the cancer institute, I know the employees at the reception desk, who have agreed to pass out my gift bags to any and all patients that they register. That, however, doesn’t solve the problem of not being able to read my book directly to the patients. My new plan is to record video as I’m writing the book, designing the cover, and putting together the gift bags, which will be overlaid by my voice reading the story.
I found a great deal of enjoyment putting together the gift bags and have purchased a plethora of items--including activity books, crayons, stress balls, and stickers--to make the bags fun, interesting and meaningful. As I am still a patient myself, I know I would love to receive one of these gift bags. Aside from activity-based items, I also bought candy to brighten the patients’ days. The gift bags also contain drinking cups that say “Cure Childhood Cancer,” and gold cancer bracelets with words such as faith, believe and courage printed on them.
I also wanted to include a unique item that the recipients would be able to cherish--so I decided to create necklaces. I purchased gold cord and three charms. Two of the charms are of the infinity symbol; one says “Courage,” and the other says “Cure, Love, Hope.” I wanted the third charm to be symbolic, so I decided on a hummingbird. The significance is that like a hummingbird, childhood cancer survivors and patients aspire to hover and savor each moment as it passes, embrace all that life has to offer and to celebrate the joy of every day. The hummingbird’s delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and that laughter is life’s sweetest creation. I hope whoever receives one of these necklaces cherishes it.
Currently, I’m still writing the book and brainstorming ideas of things to add to the gift bags that will relate to the story or theme. In addition, I am working on a letter that will be included in every gift bag with my business card so anyone who would like to hear my story or connect with me will be able to do so. I am so happy to be able to do this and I would just like to take this time to say “thank you” to The National Society of Leadership and Success for giving me the means to do so.