Friday, June 17, 2011

Arlene & Jessie

GRAND RAPIDS - Arlene and Jessie. I put their names on this blog post for the same reason their daughter/granddaughter mentions it on this page - because they matter, still. Because the loss of these woman inspired Jo-Anne and Caitlin to do something that might make a difference. Because of their fight with breast cancer their loss caused absolute anguish for her children, grandchildren and her friends. And because around the world, there are a few rare corporations that realize you can do something good for society that is also good for business.

Arlene’s daughter is Jo-Anne, Jessie's granddaughter is Caitlin. They work for a company that makes trash carts. Think about that for a moment; trash carts. While now you might know that fabulous pink cart that makes a splashy statement for your recycling, a few years ago no one would have made that connection. Jo-Anne made a simple suggestion at a company meeting - she works for an employer that "encourages its employees to think creatively and be entrepreneurial." She suggested a simple donation of every cart to the American Cancer Society, and "make ‘em pink."

Her reasons were personal, of course, but she saw a bigger image - one of the world needed to do something good for everyone. And it has caught on like wildfire, let me tell you. Jo-Anne’s tribute to her mama has put pink carts on sidewalks all over the United States and parts of Canada. Caitlin is the social media guru who brought it all to the attention of the rest of us, and so many have been touched. Caitlin said that they never expected the breast cancer community to rise around them and embrace them this much – they are just floored by the responses. I’m not at all surprised about the outpouring of emotion shown when people purchase these items and tell their stories. Not surprised one bit; my inspiration was named Roberta. I’ve not done anything nearly as grand or sweeping as Jo-Anne and Caitlin, but my mama mattered too. Our mutual love of our mothers keep driving us daily! Thank you, Jo-Anne, and Cascade Cart Solutions. You are so wonderful to help all of us survivors kick cancer to the curb!

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