We all inherently know that having meaningful personal relationships leads to us living much happier and more fulfilled lives, and I believe it is something that most of us do strive for on a daily basis – whether or not we succeed quite as often as that. But as I reflect on my previous corporate life, I realise that there was also nothing more important in my career than having cultivated these rich relationships with clients, suppliers and colleagues alike and I believe they were the biggest reason for the industry successes that I have had. Now I am at the intersect of both the professional and the personal with the establishment of Little Big Steps – a charity aiming to improve the health and wellbeing of kids living with cancer. This is as a result of a deeply personal journey catapulted by my own daughter and my co-founder’s son’s leukaemia journey, which has now become a not for profit business that we run.
Cass and I co-founded Little Big Steps, determined to make a difference to other cancer sufferers. Both being driven and passionate individuals, with a zest for life (which is sometimes hard to keep up in the face of adversity), we found a kindred spirit in each other. This intensely powerful relationship was quickly enriched through our shared values, our similarities and an ability to deeply understand the highs and the lows of what the other had, and still continues, to go through as a result of being touched by cancer.
Together we are using every spare minute (!) to set up and run Little Big Steps (and winging it as we learn the ropes some days!) so that we can raise money to develop custom-made interactive technologies to encourage physical activity for kids with cancer. Hospitals have little space or facilities, and lack funding for programs to be in place, for kids to exercise. It is hoped that by creating mobile, interactive screen-based programs, that hospitals will finally be able to help kids undergoing cancer treatment get the exercise they need - and will benefit from - as well as be able to use goal setting and a reward system to help kids actively engage with their treatment program.
Our first little big step was our Springaling fundraising event on Thursday 13 September where we had 220 attendees – a sell out! – and raised $50,000! And it was only possible because of the meaningful relationships that Cass and I have developed in our lives, where friends, family, corporate connections and just good-hearted humans we have come across, all rallied to pull the event off. We had discounts, in kind service and equipment donations, corporate tables purchased, organising committees, friends and family there to support us, strangers that believed in our cause, and very kind sponsors and donors that made it possible to raise these much-needed funds to kick start our venture. The love was felt in the room on the night - and from those afar who couldn’t be there - and despite all we have both been through this year, Cass and I felt truly blessed to have such love, support and generosity around us to make our vision a reality.
The relationships that we have built in the past have enabled us to look forward to the new chapter in our lives, to now make a difference to families living with childhood cancer. Critically, the symbiotic working relationship that Cass and I have is the essential pillar to Little Big Steps, that keeps us going through the good, the bad and the ugly days – of balancing hard, unfamiliar work with the challenging environment we both find ourselves in, still being very much surrounded by cancer. But most importantly, we have very patient families, sometimes waiting in the wings, whilst we are fighting the good fight and allow us the freedom to absorb ourselves in the work that will help bring about change for the greater good. Of all the meaningful relationships that we have made, these are the ones that make the biggest difference in our lives and we are forever grateful.
Cherish those around you; they are life’s gift to you. And to my very special Cass, you are a shining beacon that has come out of cancer for me. Thank you!