It all started with a local cable TV show—Inside Out with Diane Wagner—a show that was about inspiring people and subjects in the Bay Area. Rose and I were guests on this talk show on two different segments: Rose for her authorship and workshops on journal writing and me for supporting cancer patients and my own survivorship. Rose was invited by the talk show host to be in my studio audience and I was invited to be in hers. Diane Wagner is a connector and felt we should meet—was she right! Thanks, Diane.
As soon as I saw the warm and inviting style of Rose’s earlier journals, and how the beautiful art and sensitive writing prompts would evoke emotion and introspection, I knew she had something very unique.
Fast forward to the first conference for children with brain tumors I developed in conjunction with the National Brain Tumor Foundation. Rather than only sending kids on treasure hunts around the hotel, I felt these special kids deserved more than just distraction. They needed a chance to express what was going on for them, and to feel heard. So I decided to take a chance and invited Rose to lead some journaling workshops with the kids, teens, and siblings.
Wow, were these kids appreciative of the opportunity to tell their story, and equally important, have someone listen. At that time, Rose and I knew that a beautiful, guided journal just for young people facing health challenges was exactly the resource these special kids and their families needed.
Fast-forward again 10 years— ‘life happened’ to both Rose and me—though we never lost sight of our project. In the meantime, self-publishing became widely available (stroke of luck, because what traditional publisher would be interested in a book whose purpose wasn’t to make money, but to be available to all the sick kids who need it?) Rose developed her own skills in publishing and book design; and I had become more comfortable with my role in the community as a philanthropic thought leader.
But what were the two motivating factors that made Digging Deep possible? First I celebrated my 25-year of survivorship of brain cancer, and decided to do something important to celebrate life. Rose went to Bali on vacation and got sidetracked to Hong Kong—and found us the best printer in the world, which would make the whole project doable.
Knowing Digging Deep would have deep philanthropic possibilities, I considered my Theory of Change. From my many years working directly with kids and families with health challenges I knew what was missing in the treatment of sick kids—a way for young people to talk directly to their families, health care team, and everyone supporting them, about what is going on.
The solution needed to be simple, affordable, and easy to adopt. That is where Rose’s journaling concept came in. Simple because it embeds important psychological concepts and guides people toward inner transformation, without seeming like a self-help tool; affordable because books are much less expensive than individual therapy, and can even be offered for free, if needed; and accessible because through our blended model of partnerships with children’s hospitals and health organizations, as well as traditional retail and professional distribution, we would get Digging Deep into the hands of kids who need it. With these strategies, Resonance House can achieve its vision of facilitating communication between young people facing health challenge and their families, medical team and everyone around them. Hopefully, we will make society aware that kids with serious health issues need more emotional support, and that journaling is a simple and affordable way to provide it.