Making a Difference

I learned a week or so ago that “Homeless with Cancer” was selected for a Clarion Award in the magazines category. Earlier today, the official list of winners was posted on the Clarion site: http://www.womcom.org/awards/Clarion2011.asp

I’m so thrilled to receive this honor from the Association for Women in Communications, a national organization that recognizes communicators in a variety of media, from magazines and newspapers to television to advertising and corporate publications. I’m especially excited by the caliber of the other winners of Clarions this year (writers, photographers, and editors from Ladies’ Home Journal, Marie Claire, Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, HBO, and Newsweek among others).

When the story was first published in CR  in Fall 2010, I started to wonder if anyone was going to acknowledge the community I’d written about. The AACR’s media relations team had crafted a stellar promotional package about the article and the grass roots efforts by many to make homeless cancer survivors’ lives better, but nobody bit. Then, suddenly, things started happening.

CBS taped a story about Edwina and me (to be aired, they tell me, quite soon). The local Komen affiliate stepped in to support Street Smarts, as did volunteers from all over the city–folks from churches, clubs, my own classroom. CNN thought the program was worth a look, so they shot and aired a segment that I’ve not seen(!), but others have and indicated interest in extending the program to their cities. I have to think that Edwina and Lisa and the others I’ve come to know and who have enriched my life immeasurably have touched others too (even those who tried, hard, to forget about people who suffer from cancer out on the streets).

A couple of weeks ago, Roderick Turner, whose picture is shown on one of the title pages to the story in CR passed away from colon cancer. He fought for life up to the very end, and I wish I could have told him that his story is changing how others view people with cancer who don’t have the good fortune to live in a room of their own or know where their next meal is coming from.

He’s made a difference. I’m hoping he knew.

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