The Power of the Giraffe
CAROL’S STORY and Carol’s Care Packages
This website and not for profit are dedicated to Carol Friedrich Alcorn. She fights against cancer. Carol was diagnosed with breast cancer in October of 2000, after surgery and chemotherapy she entered remission in the Fall of 2001.
Cancer returned in 2009 and shook our blended family to its core. This time it returned in Carol's bones. She endured another schedule of chemotherapy and defeated cancer again. In December of 2009 she was about to return to work fulltime. As the New Year dawned, what was thought to be a sinus infection turned out again to be the return of cancer.
This time it had moved to her brain. She has been battling this dreaded disease virtually non-stop ever since. Yet she still has the poise to smile and crack jokes. Her body is weakened but her spirit is still strong. Somehow she has the grace to push forward every day without complaint or woe. She is still more apt to ask how you are doing as opposed to discuss how she is.
Throughout this battle the story of the Giraffe began. Carol's favorite animal at the zoo is the giraffe. So what began as an attempt to cheer her up and make her smile after one of her procedures, became an important ritual for our family. Whenever Carol would have a big test, surgery or scan, she would receive a stuffed giraffe. Whenever she would complete a treatment schedule of radiation or chemo, she would receive a giraffe. Unfortunately for her, she has accumulated a lot of giraffes. But the giraffe began to symbolize much more than our attempt to make her smile. We had completed another hurdle, even if there were more hurdles ahead. We had reached another finish line, even if there was another race to run. Sometimes it was just taking the time to smile in the midst of the battle and celebrate a small victories, even when all you wanted to do was to scream or cry.
The Giraffe also came to symbolize something much more. It soon represented Carol’s strength, her resolve and everyone’s love for her.
Out of our despair grew a dream, a dream to share the POWER of the Giraffe. The power that even a silly stuffed animal armed with belief, hope and resolve, can carry you through. Little things CAN make a big difference.
One of the unfortunate side effects of Cancer, is the isolation. At times you feel that you or your little family is alone against the world. Many people will make the statement, "if you need anything, just let us know," but it takes a special person to just take the initiative. It takes a special person to "Stick Their Neck Out” for someone else.
We have been fortunate to have had many people reach out to us during our struggle. Many random acts of kindness that seemed to show up at the exact time we needed them. This made us wonder, what about the families that are not as fortunate as ours? What about the ones that don’t have the support structure or good health coverage? It became very apparent to us, that no matter how our story ended, we MUST do something. We MUST reach out to let people know that they are not alone in this fight. We MUST reach out to help and we MUST make a difference. Not only must we do all that, we MUST inspire others to reach out and make a difference as well. The Power of the Giraffe was born.
The Power of the Giraffe is not about us, it is about trying to pay it forward. Our goal is to find families in need and reach out to help. Help could be as small as a gift card for gas or food to defer the costs of trips back forth to treatments. Help could be as big as pitching in to help raise money to pay prescription co-pays or medical bills. Help could simply be getting a group of people to go help clean house and give a well-deserved break. The Power of the Giraffe is about us “sticking our necks out” to make a difference for others. It is about trying to use our unique perspective to help those living through the struggle.
There are plenty of foundations and non for profits that raise money for cancer research and they do tremendous work. Our goal is different. Our goal is to help the families fighting the battle now. Help those in the trenches who don't have time to wait for tomorrow. Families who need help today. We want to help as many as we can to continue to fight for as long as they can, so that hopefully the cure finds them.
In addition, we want to share stories from people who have reached out to make a difference AND those who have been the beneficiaries of that outreach, so you can see the difference that you made.
My mission is very simple. It is the same for the world as it is for our children. When you see a giraffe, you think of Carol. When you see a giraffe, you stick your neck out for your fellow man and help others rise above their fight with cancer. We also hope to inspire people to reach out and HELP. So when anyone sees a giraffe, they think of Carol and they think of the power that the smallest of gifts can carry.
Our challenge to all who read this or hear of the Power of the Giraffe, please print out Carol's story, buy a small stuffed giraffe and pay it forward with someone in your life
Carol ended her battle here on Earth but she still battles in heaven for everyone left fighting cancer now. Share the gift of her indomitable spirit and the warmth of her smile with the world, and she will always be with us.
I believe WE can make a difference.
Please share our story with your family and friends.
Stick your neck out for your fellow man
5K RUN/WALK location MOVED
We will be starting at Russell Commons Park on
Discovery Parkway, Alton, IL