Designing a Better Story for Children with Cancer

Rebecca Wilson Lundin | Doing | November 1, 2017

After six-year-old Emily Whitehead survived acute lymphoblastic leukemia thanks to a revolutionary new therapy, her family began the Emily Whitehead Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to raise awareness and funding for innovative childhood cancer treatments, such as immunotherapy, that will improve survival rates and quality of life. For the past few years, we here at Rowland have been helping the Foundation brand themselves and spread their message. We feel privileged to work with an organization doing such important work.

When Tom and Kari came to us and asked us to support a gala fundraising event, we were delighted. From the beginning, we knew that this event mattered, not just for the client but for the the good work it could do raising money for an important cause. So we got to work.

In order for a fundraising event to be successful, it needs thematic cohesion. The Foundation had relied on Emily’s story for previous events, but this time they wanted to do something slightly different. Knowing that many other families struggle through pediatric cancer treatments, and knowing that not all of them have the positive outcome that Emily experienced, we worked with the Whiteheads to develop a story-telling theme. We wanted to inspire people to donate funds that would “Write a Better Story” for pediatric cancer patients and families. And now the Believe Ball had a theme!

The idea of writing a better story was one that we carried over into design for each part of the event, and it became foundational to the way the event itself was structured. From invitations to signage and the program, each designed element featured a clean, simple “storybook” theme. In addition, every speaker echoed the theme that we need to “Write a Better Story.” In the end, it was a theme that was appropriate for children as well as beautiful and elegant enough for a room full of tuxedos and ball gowns.

We also worked with the Whitehead family to ensure that the event’s sponsors, all of whom were contributing many thousands of dollars to the cause, were visibly thanked and given a brand presence in the event’s materials.

As thanks for our work and sponsorship, the Whiteheads generously offered us tickets to the event. We gratefully attended, and felt privileged and emotionally moved to support such a beautiful story.

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