Question (Q): How would you define this project and how did it start?
Originally I started a blog called I Kicked Cancers Ass as a therapeutic means to write out my experiences with cancer as I am a Stage 3B Cervical Cancer Survivor. Many started to find my blog and reach out to me for answers and some comfort. As my blog grew in popularity I found myself wanting to do more. From my own experience with battling cancer I remembered just how nice it was to receive a card or a gift from someone almost daily. These little touches of love really helped me in my recovery and helped give me the will to keep fighting. It took my mind off the pain of cancer if even only for a moment. I knew I was lucky enough to have my friends and family there for me but I also knew that not everyone was as fortunate as I. This is how I thought of Spirit Jump. I would match those caring individuals out there who wanted to give with those who were in need of a real lift.
Q: What is the main purpose of Spirit Jump?
The main purpose of Spirit Jump is to let those who are fighting cancer know that they are not alone in their fight and that there are many people out there who care and who are rooting them on with all of there hearts. Our hope is that these little care packages will bring some hope to someone in need. When someone is struggling for the strength to keep fighting we hope that at those tough moments maybe a little package of love comes that day and gives that person the extra little strength they need to get through that day.
Q: How many people does your project have, from people working directly with them to the people helping and the people that benefit from it?
Spirit Jump is being run by myself and my co-founder Stacy Billow who I also met through my blog. Stacy is a 24 year cancer fighter as well. Currently our number of givers is around 600 but we are growing almost daily. Our number of receivers is somewhere around 100 but we generally send out a request via email for about 5 new people a week. Spirit Jump will have an article in Cure magazine in a few months and with a distribution of over 4 million our numbers are sure to jump up quickly after that.
Q: Do you see the Internet as a fundamental tool to every social program?
Absolutely! Being able to reach out online has allowed me to connect with so many amazing people. I would imagine no matter what anyone might be dealing with they can find someone out there who knows what they are going through. Someone in California can now help someone in Florida or anywhere around the world for that matter. Spirit Jump actually has some international people involved as well. It’s really fantastic!
Q: Was your project fully created thinking about the Internet or you only use the Internet as one of the means of promotion?
Well in a way I guess Spirit Jump was created as a result of the internet and the social avenues the internet provides. It continues to be the main avenue we use to promote Spirit Jump but we are always open to more conventional means as well. I have had several articles in newspapers and I already mentioned the Cure magazine article that will be out this year. We are also looking for some spots on talk shows in the coming year as well.
Q: What tools online do you use?
Currently we are heavily into Twitter (@spiritjump) but we also have an account on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=197520490523) as well as our own website at www.spiritjump.org