Strengths, Stories and Opportunities

Team Draft works hard every day to encourage, uplift and strengthen lung cancer advocates. I have been the beneficiary of that encouragement and advocacy training in various ways since I first heard of Team Draft through this video What’s the Biggest Cancer Killer? made by Team Draft with our friend Keith Singer and the Catch it in Time team. I met Chris in person in 2018.

Team Draft has traveled worldwide to connect with the lung cancer community in cancer centres – over 60 in the first year – as well as meeting people in restaurants, at games, and in people’s homes. It matters to Team Draft to really get to know people and help them develop their strengths. Seeing people in their contexts is the best way to more fully understand their story and better support them. Team Draft works strategically, developing leaders and encouraging everybody.

With COVID Team Draft has quickly pivoted to making the most of opportunities. Thanks to online platforms such as Zoom, they meet regularly with a wide variety of people in many places, right from the comfort of home.

Team Draft values the importance of following best practices, such as researching our audience and tailoring our messages to our listener. Team Draft embraces the power of story and audience-appropriate messaging for advocates: “We have to know our audience and we need to know our ask.”

Through Zoom, Chris has introduced some lung cancer advocates to his friend Dr. Dennis Rebelo, a professor, coach and consultant who has developed an effective method for helping people tell their stories better. It’s called StoryPathing, and as we’ve started down this path it’s helped us more deeply explore the power in our stories. This process has great potential for helping advocates tell our stories better.

Advocacy is about relationships and storytelling. More effective storytelling means more effective advocacy and in this case, that can mean better outcomes for people affected by lung cancer.

I’m pumped about the possibilities!

Thank you, Chris Draft, Team Draft, and Dr. Dennis Rebelo!

What Power?

Several weeks ago, a lovely woman at church told me that her husband had written a list of things that cancer does not have power over. My first response was, “I’d love to see that list!” My second thought was, “Maybe it would be better if I made up my own list!”

I am so grateful that it got me thinking more deeply about these questions: what actual power does cancer have in my life, and where am I giving it power that I shouldn’t.

My recent skate on our backyard rink was something I didn’t think I could do. My feet are fairly numb so my balance is lousy right now, and my body is startlingly weak. I had no idea what would happen as I attempted to glide out on the ice. I was afraid of falling and adding to my bruise collection (or worse). I was afraid of scaring my kids, of looking foolish, of not being able to get back up … I was feeling powerless. Fear and uncertainty were holding me back. But I made a decision that I was going to (carefully) go for it and see what happened. Even if the very worst I feared did materialize, we would manage. I’m so glad I did! The sun was glorious, the weather warm enough that I could breathe fairly comfortably, and my body remembered how to skate! I didn’t fall at all, although I did feel rather awkward (and somewhat powerless) at times! Fear can hold a huge amount of power over us. I’m so glad it didn’t stop me from skating!

We all have life circumstances which challenge us on a variety of levels. We may choose to give away power, or not recognize the power we do have within / in spite of them. We believe lies. We can allow ourselves to be paralyzed.

As I continue to wrestle with these questions, I realize more and more how important it is: not only to wrestle, but also to step out boldly in truth and love as best as I can.

What about your life circumstances? What power do they actually have over you, and where do you inappropriately give power to them? What power will you choose to give to them, and what practical differences will that make in your life?

(This photo is of a list I discovered on a bulletin board at the hospital. What Cancer Cannot DoI have no idea who wrote it.)