Photo Friday is a weekly post about things I see in and around Washington, DC. This week’s photograph is of Danielle Leach (@teaminspire), who is the Director of Partnerships at Inspire.com (who I have written about previously), in front of the walking wall at Center for Total Health, where she and I were yesterday.
About 2 weeks ago, we were both prepping for a panel discussion at the Washington, DC Social Media Club, in our roles representing Inspire and Kaiser Permanente, respectively, and we began talking about an event she is working on, “46 mommas shave for the brave,” where 46 mothers of children who have fought or are fighting cancer, who go bald to create visibility for their children and children like theirs who are fighting for their lives.
Danielle was talking to me about the pediatric cancer community and she told me,
“In the past 20 years, the FDA has approved only one new drug for any pediatric cancer. The same drug that was used to treat my son was used to treat my sister, who also had pediatric cancer 25 years ago.”
As she said this, I saw a tear in her eye. We then recomposed and had the planned dialogue with the social media club, which was great. Mason Leach died of medulloblastoma in 2007.
I think this post is about Washington, DC, because of where Mason’s family lives and works, and also because we are the nation’s most social city, in the 3rd most extroverted State in the Union. People readily bring loss , and really a lot of their health and life experiences, into the conversation here, whether through the creation of physical or emotional monuments, big and small (see a few examples here), and it makes them better community members, leaders, inspiration for others, and ultimately shapers of a community that is unafraid of the future. This is a huge reason why DC “works” for me.
46mommas will be doing their Shave for the Brave in Washington, DC this year, this September. Video of the last shave is below. Links to Mason’s story as well as photos are also below.
These also lead me to comment on health care, and the bond between parent and child, probably the strongest there is in the human species. The video shows it well, and as Danielle commented to me while touring the Center, “When your child has cancer, you have to become an oncologist, too.” Health care’s job has to be to unlock and use that energy as much as possible for healing, because getting in the way of it is foolish. And why would we want to, love always wins.