This holiday season provided a chance for the KWF Emerging Leaders group to shine some light on some of the most inspirational women in our community. After a year filled with Covid and cancer, chemo chairs and canceled plans, KWF wanted to end on a high note rather than allow lingering gloom to define this year for our recipients. Our special ladies deserved better.
That’s when the KWF Emerging Leaders stepped-in and stepped-up. Our KWF EL Committee is made up of 30 passionate, young professionals in the Cincinnati area all looking to get more FUN on the calendars of deserving women LIVING with cancer. Our ELs saw an opportunity to mobilize on a grand scale, went for it, and delivered. Big time. The ELs created KWF’s “12 Days of Giving” campaign in December. Over 20 of us masked-up and showed-up on the doorsteps of a dozen new KWF recipients, bearing gifts of fun. From spa days to boxes of FUN, personalized presents to vacations, these ladies felt the love from our members, especially Stephanie Camp. KWF recipient ambassador, Tara Riley recently had nominated her cousin, Stephanie for a gift of FUN. Myself as well as Emerging Leaders, Noelle Weber and Claire Suetholz joined Tara on day 8 of 12 for a delivery we will never forget. When we arrived on Steph’s doorstep we were overwhelmed with her excitement and infectious spirit. A burst of joy that had been slumbering in 2020. She was amazed that we were there to surprise HER with a box of FUN that included a baking class with a special guest from her beloved, and we do mean BELOVED, Cincinnati Bengals. She exploded with happy tears. It wasn’t just a gift, it was an invitation to join a KWF sisterhood that has become bigger than cancer. And she accepted the invitation without hesitation.
As Claire put it, “When we made that delivery to Stephanie, we quickly realized she was a walking example of the KWF mission. Stephanie had so much joy and zest for life, though life hadn’t been easy on her. It was an incredible reminder to me to embrace life’s struggles by bringing the FUN. I feel lucky I got to be there to welcome Stephanie to the KWF family!” A mother, grandma and breast cancer survivor with other family challenges, Stephanie has already lived a full life. Despite cancer and personal loss, Steph was quick to remind us what pulls her through... faith. “Faith is a big part of my life. I always bring faith,” she noted with a cheery confidence.
In fact, we observed in Steph an infectious positivity most people go through life looking for, but never find. Steph had it. In spades. As the three of us drove home that night, we couldn’t stop smiling. It had been a tough year for us too and this holiday season was a bit of a mystery. Not as merry. Until we met Stephanie. Her faith and that a reservoir of joy that laid just below the surface waiting to be invited out, stuck with us. It moved us to our own happy tears. Not only that evening but throughout the holiday season and as we write this on a cold, rainy, late January day. Joy is still out there. It might be a bit locked-up these days, but each of us holds the key to unleash it in others and ourselves.
That’s the thing about our 1,000+ KWF gift deliveries. You head in thinking you are the giver and you are going to play a small role in changing someone’s life. But what we find is that both the giver and the recipient are changed exponentially for the good. It’s not 1 + 1 = 2 addition. No, it’s multiplication. And a reminder that 'give first' is really an invitation for each of us to ‘LIVE first’ more in all that we do. Thanks for the gift, Stephanie. We can’t wait to include you in another magical KWF delivery.
-Angeline Wellington, Claire Suetholz, Noelle Weber & all our Emerging Leaders KWF Emerging Leaders: Bre Romeo Bovara: co-chair, Angeline Wellington: co-chair, Drew Ross, Noelle Weber, Robby Wellington, Annie Keefe, Claire Suetholz, Jack Fitzgerald
Jack Perez, Brad Chamblin, John Popken, Francie Ruppert, Matt Bitter, Marta Stewart Kirran Magowan, Matt Kittell, Simran Magowan, Jessica Bailey, Robert Bovara, Meredith Brown, Amabel Bunry, Stevi Carr , Anna Coutts, Megan Day, Sean Ironmonger Frederick Riley, Sam Rossell, Brooke Stull Marcus Thompson, Lindsay Tillinghast