Many of you may not know that my career before Little Pink was in education. For years, I was a very proud high school history teacher- I loved teaching and felt like I was able to connect with students about more than just the subject matter. Teaching molded me into a life of service and caring. It created a person that strives to see the strengths in the person standing in front of me and to celebrate that as their gift to the world.
I taught over a thousand students and enjoy watching them grow up and find their own agency in the world. One former student of mine, Glenn, transferred into school his sophomore year. He was bright, witty, smart and truly a caring individual. Like so many, he graduated, went to school, moved away and has lived in many places across the US. Throughout the years, we would occasionally see a post of each other’s on facebook and comment. I was proud of the life that has was creating and rooted for his success. He was doing the same for me as he followed Little Pink’s growth.
This past fall, Glenn reached out to me to connect me to a charity that was near and dear to his heart- Tap Cancer Out. Tap Cancer Out raises awareness and funds for cancer-fighting organizations by mobilizing and empowering the jiu jitsu community to create change for cancer patients. I looked into them and loved their mission, their leadership, and how they are relationally based just like us. Little Pink applied for funding and was named a Charity Partner for 2023 with a grant of $75,000 to pay for travel costs for our participants with demonstrated need. That grant came right after we decided to take on the huge endeavor of covering travel costs and was just what we needed to be able to kick-start our program. And next week, our first retreat will take place in Carolina Beach, NC and participants will be able to attend directly due to this funding.
On Monday, I got a chance to golf in Tap Cancer Out’s 1st annual golf tournament with my husband, Terry, our board chair, Bryan Torrence, and a dear friend, Mike Ford. The tournament held even more meaning because for the past 6 months, we have been dealing with my husband Terry’s Stage IV cancer diagnosis. Our family is in the cancer fight again. And this time I am the caretaker, not the patient. And I think back to how we ended up on the course yesterday. We got there because two people managed to stay in each others’ lives and just show up with words of encouragement and I thought to myself – wow, wouldn’t it be amazing if this happened more often. I am so grateful for those people that have stayed connected with me through the years! And I am so thankful to have the chance to look at my former student and say- WOW! Look at the ripple effects you have caused by acting on your belief that being an agent of change matters! We look forward to a long partnership with Tap Cancer Out!
Visit Tap Cancer Out at https://tapcancerout.org/ and help spread their message.
Jeanine and her husband Terry