At MyLifeLife.org, we are blessed and inspired by the unique and extraordinary stories shared by our members.
Today, July 16, is a celebration for two reasons. It is not only the wedding day of special friends, Jen + Britton. It is also the first National #Ribboning Day, inspired by Jen + Britton’s journey from love to loss to love again.
Jen has said this isn’t your average “boy meets girl” love story. Jen and Britton met after tragic circumstances. They married the loves of their lives, Ruben and Jax, who both passed away from cancer just months apart from each other in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
Jax and I bonded when she was using MyLifeLine.org after her breast cancer diagnosis. She became an advocate for our cause, a volunteer and a friend. My favorite memory was when I visited her home with my 6-year old son, Ryan. She was so frail and so sick. Despite how she was feeling, she lit up when Ryan sat on her lap and they worked on a puzzle together. She wore a silly hat to make him laugh, and I took a photo of them together. I was shocked when Jax passed away a month later. She was young and positive and hopeful, which seemed immortal to me. I had met Britton, Jax’s husband, a few times and admired the way he cared for her.
I met Jen soon after Ruben passed. As Jen would say, she “searched” for me when she heard I was visiting the LIVESTRONG offices in Austin where she worked at the time. She graciously thanked me for creating the platform she needed to galvanize her personal community during Ruben’s time throughout hospice care. Jen used MyLifeLine.org to describe to her friends and family that they were living, not just dying, until the very end. Even when Ruben’s prognosis was grim, he squeezed more life and vitality out of his days.
While Jen + Britton struggled to cope with their devastating losses, I thought of them often. It didn’t feel right that they should suffer alone.
Since Jen lived in Austin, and Britton lived in Denver, their paths were not likely to cross. Until one day, an idea sparked in me…maybe they can help each other. Maybe they can find comfort in knowing someone else in the world just went through the same hell.
They gave me permission to introduce them over email and started writing to each other. Communications were slow at first, and eventually Jen came out to Colorado, and they met in person.
Happiness alert! The bonding created over their shared grief became more than that over time. They fell in love, Britton moved to Austin, he proposed, and they are getting married today.
The entire MyLifeLine.org team is celebrating the union of two people who deserve all the happiness in the world. As Britton says, Jax and Ruben are irreplaceable. Jen + Britton will move forward by framing this as a new chapter, and they are grateful to spend it together.
Now, how does their story connect us to National #Ribboning Day? At MyLifeLine.org, we started #ribboning last year on Instagram as a way to humanize the cancer ribbon you see on cars, retail windows and advertising on all channels. #Ribboning has come to symbolize that cancer is not about the color of a ribbon….it’s about the people. Cancer may be a disease, but it’s also a community, and we believe in compounding the emotional benefits of human support and unity.
#Ribboning is simple – have someone take a photo of you in the shape of a cancer ribbon and post it on Instagram. This movement caught on and people from all over the world have posted #ribboning photos to show support for cancer patients and survivors.
Jen + Britton inspired us to take #ribboning further and to proclaim their wedding day as National #Ribboning Day to raise awareness for the unique needs of caregivers. The emotional tidal wave of cancer doesn’t just hit the individuals diagnosed; it also hits those people closest to them.
On their own, Jen + Britton created a fundraising page to ask wedding guests to donate to MyLifeLine.org to “keep love going.” This fundraising page evolved into us creating a video that shares their story in their own words, and then the fundraising page migrated over to IndieGoGo with a bold goal and shared vision to raise awareness and funds for an organization dedicated 100 percent to providing free communication tools and services for cancer patients, caregivers, family and friends.
I hope you’ll join me in celebrating Jen + Britton’s wedding and National #Ribboning Day!
Visit our IndieGoGo page for Jen + Britton’s video story and learn about the #Ribboning Relay that will move MyLifeLine.org forward in our mission to serve millions of families in cancer’s wake.