From journalist Robin Roberts to cyclist Lance Armstrong, cancer survivors often say they could not have pulled through their ordeal if it were not for the love and support of their families. This is why we had to write about the dynamic and extraordinary Jennifer Windrum. We don't know anyone who isn't deeply moved by what she's doing to increase funding for cancer research and prevention.
Inspired by her mom's bout with lung cancer, and aided by the worldwide reach of social media, Windrum launched the WTF? (Where's the Funding for Cancer) Campaign. It's a well-received initiative that has allowed traveling and talking with politicians, strategizing with other activists, and meeting with cancer survivors. Her efforts were honored this year when WTF was chosen as a finalist for the prestigious Mashable Awards.
A self-described "social media practitioner," her work feeds into today's related wording, the power of the 140-character message, and the wide reach of other media platforms to create social change. Passion and drive launched her campaign to eliminate this horrible disease, and her message not only gets out, it draws attention to the issue. Her campaign can be used as a template for future initiatives. Whatever your passion for social change might be, you could do no better than take a leaf from her book.
We love your "WTF? - Where's the Funding (for Lung Cancer)?" Campaign. Talk a little bit about what inspired it.
My campaign was completely inspired by my mom, Leslie Lehrman, who has Stage IV inoperable, incurable lung cancer. She has never smoked a day in her life. When I was 10 years old, I knew I was supposed to tackle something "big" when I grew up -- some kind of cause -- but as the years passed by, I kept wondering what "it" was. The minute my mom told me she had lung cancer (2005), my mission and path in life became crystal clear. My mom's future became anything but. My mom is far from alone. We literally have a public health epidemic on our hands and virtually no one cares. I won't stand for it. None of us can.
As a former reporter and now public relations, social media practitioner, I quickly realized the "true" lung cancer story wasn't being told. The facts just didn't, and still don't, add up. Sadly, it wasn't due to my poor math skills. I felt compelled to expose this story, bring about accountability and create a movement of change -- big change that is desperately needed for all of us. I knew I had to come up with an attention-getting, edgy campaign in order to cut through the clutter. A lot of people use "WTF" along with other digital acronyms, such as LOL, ROFL, etc. I wanted to tap into that relevant language in some fashion. Lying in bed one night it hit me: The double-meaning of "WTF" in today's digital language and "WTF" for 'Where's the Funding?' For those who don't know the digital "WTF," the message is still clean and simple. For those who get both meanings, it's a double-punch! Oh, the name is mother-approved. (Smiles)