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Turning Pain into Purpose


January 5, 2021

Guest blogger/alumna reflects on her cancer journey as a Fenwick student -- and where it has brought her two decades later.

While fighting a rare form of bone cancer as a Fenwick freshman in 1995, Kathleen Brown '00 learned of the passing of her friend, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, on November 14. "The grief and loss I felt was suffocating," recalls Ms. Brown, who is the daughter of Hall of Fame alumnus Pete Brown '71.

"Until then, as a naive teenager, cancer had been an inconvenience; a temporary setback. I could not comprehend how the disease could take this incredible man’s life and spare my own," she continues. "While my family and friends prepared to celebrate the end of my treatment and Christmas at home, I put on a brave face — and quietly plotted to end my life."

Fast-forward to 2020 when, with the help of her sister, Megan Brown '07 (the pair is pictured), Kathleen launched, a platform designed to bridge the divide between patients and well-intentioned supporters. "It's a place where patients in treatment and recovery can connect with each other in an online community with events and resources that felt more fun and upbeat," she explains. "And users are empowered to share how they were feeling with a social tool, complete with helpful prompts for family and friends to support them with love notes or wellness wallet funds that could be redeemed for things like a meditation app or a therapy session."



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