In the past year, I’ve learned so much about Fantasy Faire and I’ve been amazed by the similarities between your story and that of the American Cancer Society. I’ve seen that the same themes, the themes of innovation, community and kindness, exist in both stories and define us both just as clearly. As I’ve shared in your tale and proudly made it part of my own, it’s been clear to me again and again that the tales of the Fairelands and the American Cancer Society are actually one and the same.
The Society’s tale began more than a century ago, when a group of only fifteen people resolved to make a difference. Back then, cancer was an almost certain death sentence and this led to so much fear of the disease that most people dared not even speak its name. This small, dedicated group understood that they had to start by overcoming that fear, and better education was the key. It was an innovation that set the tone for all that has followed.
It wasn’t long before those fifteen people had grown to fifteen thousand, and then to one hundred and fifty thousand and that number has never stopped growing. Those who had felt so powerless in the presence of the disease, who’d lost so much to its ravages found that in relying on one another and in sharing their stories there was strength. There was courage. They formed a community which has never stopped expanding. It’s a circle whose circumference was at first not much bigger than a dining room table. Today, that community encompasses the world.
The progress we’ve made in the last century has been the result of that global community of people, each with different gifts to offer. People from all backgrounds and walks of life have come together to play their unique role, but the one characteristic they all share is kindness. They’re people who look at the pain and suffering cancer brings and think, “It doesn’t have to be this way. I can help.” It’s kindness that drives innovation, just as it drives the ever expanding circle of our global community. The story of the American Cancer Society is the story of innovative people, dedicated to one another and to their shared vision. It’s the story of people driven by their kindness to build a better world.
It seems to me that this is just as true for Fantasy Faire. Your innovative spirit draws more people every year. Each new person adds their talent and dedication to a community whose greatest strength is clearly its kindness. Your story and that of the American Cancer Society are one. Our fellowship is a tale written on a tapestry so strong that it cannot be unwoven. When I stand back and marvel at the story it tells, I am proud to say that I now consider myself a Fairelander. I hope you are just as proud to say that you are part of the American Cancer Society.
We’ve looked back at where we have been; now we look forward together with a renewed sense of hope because the future is a realm where hope reigns. In that realm, anything and everything is possible. Even a world without cancer.
Let’s build it together.
Managing Director, Global Initiatives
American Cancer Society