By Emma Neal
Strength. Hope. Transformation. Community. How can each of us bring these principles to life in a world that needs them more than ever?
I learned the Jesuit principle of “men and women for and with others” as a freshman at The College of the Holy Cross. Ever since, it has opened my eyes to the world around me and helped me develop a deeper understanding of how we can all find strength to overcome obstacles and how being hopeful can make the impossible possible, transform the lives of others and bring together communities.
These principles did not leave me when I left campus. In fact, they live on through my work in healthcare media at Allison+Partners and are the foundations of Make-A-Wish’s Massachusetts and Rhode Island chapter – which I’ve volunteered with for the past five years. Since 1983, Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island has created life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. These wishes provide strength, hope and joy, all of which are essential for children and families during and after a child’s treatment journey. But most important of all, wishes let kids be kids.
This year, I had the distinct honor to volunteer my time to brainstorm PR activations – from social media content and blog posts to fundraising ideas – around the chapter’s 10,000th wish. Kyle Osterman, who is currently battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia, wished for a dream treehouse called Kyle’s Krib. Businesses and organizations from across Massachusetts and Rhode Island designed the treehouse. “The Diary of a Wimpy Kid” creator Jeff Kinney, former Red Sox player Darnell McDonald, WooSox mascot Smiley and the Marvel team at Hasbro gifted pieces for the treehouse, and Kyle’s North Grafton community came together to grant his wish.
My time and dedication to grant Kyle’s wish would not have been possible without Allison+Partners. The agency has always encouraged employees to take time away from their desks to give back and support their local communities through volunteer hours. This agency-wide offering has granted my wish to combine my professional passion for healthcare and my personal passion for making a difference in the lives of Wish kids and families.
So, what could be better than volunteering that combines your professional and personal passions? Helping others find the strength to overcome obstacles, bringing hope to those who need it, transforming the lives of kids of Kyle and coming together as communities to make what sometimes can seem impossible possible.
Emma Neal is a director in Allison + Partners’ Earned Media Center of Excellence and is based in the Boston office. She has spent her entire career in healthcare and currently supports agency-wide earned media execution, media strategy and supporting healthcare account teams and clients. She has volunteered with Make-A-Wish’s Boston/Rhode Island chapter for five years. Emma received her Bachelor of Arts from the College of the Holy Cross with a major in Political Science and minor in German.