Shortly after the opening of The Design Loft I realized the great amount of assistance that the community needed in the form of donations. I constantly had clients, both new and existing, approach me to ask for help for a variety of causes related to healthcare. After a while it became clear that as a designer and business owner I could make a difference, and in March of 2008, I decided to work with Amy Tyner to create Designing Lives, a nonprofit to support women fighting the battle against cancer.
This would not be the fight for help with insurance or prescription drugs. Designing Lives would help women with the day-to-day cost associated with getting help, like providing money for gas, gift cards, babysitters, and meals.
Then something happened. As Amy walked out of the building, I remember looking down at my paper and the feeling of overwhelming sickness that came over me. I could see the cancer within her. I knew it had returned. She was the proud new parent of a 6-month-old baby girl at the mere age of 40. She was the wonderful wife and the women we all strive to be. At this point, I decided to hold my plans momentarily as I knew that within a short amount of time, she would be returning for the visit that would give us the answers. I got the call a week later, Amy began her call by telling me “You knew, didn’t you”. Not what you want to jump up and scream from the roof tops that “I was right!” Instead, you would rather hide in the thoughts that you wished for once, you where wrong.
This would be the turning point! This would be the point that I began the walk to get this organization underway so that Amy could be on the receiving end of this great organization instead of heading this organization to help others. For all my readers, what I have not shared with you, is that this would be her third battle with cancer. Amy would face her toughest battle yet. She had breast cancer twice and was blessed with one cycle to have her precious baby. She now would be facing cancer as a new mother with chronic bone cancer.
Designing Lives, Inc., became an official nonprofit organization in October 2008 and we began our journey. I often share a saying “Journey.” “The Bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you refuse to take the turn.” Each day for women facing cancer is a journey. Some days the journey will bring laughter, other days the journey will bring tears. My hope is that by creating Designing Lives that I never forget that as a designer, I have the ability to help design a better life!