Read personal stories from our founder and Jennifer's mommy, Libby, along with other Warrior Moms and news from our Unravel team.

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September 26, 2014

Are we making a difference?

I ask myself that all the time. I dedicate so much of my life and myself to Unravel.. I can’t help but wonder if its really worth it. ..This week it was answered for me

In a few unlikely ways.. There was a comment on the blog… one that I am sure is not isolated.. asking questions I am assume others may ask themselves about me.. about us. But it was my answer to that question that has helped me start to rise about the ashes I have been choking on lately.

Putting into writing the good that I feel we are doing was empowering. Honestly the words just flowed from me.. the confidence in a such a unsettling time. .

Thanks for your reply. I want to respond to a few things. Its actually not the inevitable since lots of people choose not to bury for a multitude of reasons.We chose to wait because we wanted her headstone complete and it took time to decide what we wanted and then get it carved.

Strength is a funny thing.. for us we choose to allow our children see us hurt and struggle. Because from our darkest hours comes our greatest triumphs. Unfortunately because one of my children died I will never ever be the same.. some of that is for the worse and some is for the better, but the changes are something I will not hide. So when I look from his perspective he will see a mom that loves all of her children with all she has.. a mom that weeps terribly for the one she lost but stands up through my pain to throw a ball or build a puzzle. He sees a Dad who misses his daughter.. but even in his pain holds his wife and cries right along with her. Then gets down and builds legos because thats what his kids need from him in the next moment. He will learn from our example what it means to love and lose to win and to fail. He will see from us the kind of man we hope him to grow to be.

This is my way.. our way.. Its what works for us.. Certainly no handbook on it. And we have found a few professionals, that deal with grief in children and know our kids, who we talk about how we are grieving and allowing our children to grieve. We talk as a couple and with them to come up with a roadmap for unchartered territory.

The non-profit.. well thats not about her. Its about my 3 surviving kids and the the grandchildren I hope to have. We don’t raise awareness for pediatric cancer because it holds onto her.. we do it in the hopes of saving children.. and if god forbid its one of my own again I am openly selfish enough to hope we have made a impact and they will have a better shot at survival.

Please understand I blog and share because I am their mom during the day.. But at night I am all hers again.

It helped to allow myself to be strong in our choices.. I worry, I am always second guessing myself, but the truth is I think we are doing a really good job with ourselves, with Unravel and most importantly with each other and our children.

16760_10153196677807576_463082805324925415_nThis was also highlighted for me yesterday. We were invited to a local high school to see what they were doing. The same high school my boys along with another preschool girl had fluttered. (well along with the help of her mom). We went on a weekend and hung fliers with facts and dragonflies to draw attention. A campaign we have named flittering.

We did student areas and teacher/admin areas. The kids had fun and we made some good memories. It was something they could do to feel like they were giving back and helping to unravel kids cancer. I thought maybe we would impact a few staff but truly didn’t put a lot of stock into it.  The value to me was mostly personal.. the memories and giving my kids an outlet to “fight back”.

I was wrong

These teenagers picked up the ball thrown by a 5 yr old and some 3 yr olds and ran with it. I got a email that they were doing different things to help raise awareness. One of them was on Wednesday. They were selling ribbons .. gold for pediatric cancer and pink for my daughter.. for their sister. Walking up the kids right away noticed the giant ribbons that weren’t there when we went to flitter. They noticed a sign hanging from a second story walk way. They also noted the signs that they had carefully hung up on the doors and windows were still there..chigh1

Walking into the quad area both boys gripped me tightly. I think they were scared of getting swept away in a sea of high schoolers. We saw a arch of gold and pink balloons.. we saw groups of students donning pink and gold. I leaned over and asked if they saw. Asked if they noticed anything. They did.. my boys that love their sister noticed all the pink first.

But I noticed both. Colors for all of my kids. Pink for her.. her favorite color.. and gold for my survivors. Because we are entrenched in this battle against pediatric cancer for them… for their kids.. their friends and their cousins. Gold represents for me so much more than just kids with cancer.

charlotte with her 2 ribbons

charlotte with her 2 ribbons

Its all of us.. all of them. Our future and theirs.. its the ones that are yet to be diagnosed. Its the healthy ones too. .The ones that lost their sister or brother.. the ones that lost their friends.. and along with that,  their innocence.

I loved seeing these high school boys donating and signing their names

I loved seeing these high school boys donating and signing their names

Gold a precious metal. Children our most precious resource.

We stood at the table my 3 golden hair loves and I , we watched student after student walk up and make a donation for 2 ribbons and go sign a huge ribbon poster surrounded by the facts .. get this.. the facts that SPOKE TO THEM. It wasn’t just ones we had on our site.

They were inspired to go.. and research and learn.. and then share.

All started from some preschoolers. The impact of which was not lost on my 5 yr old..he understood that it started with him .. some painters tape and pictures of dragonflies.. he understood how glitter can spread.. And most importantly he understood that he did it.. that he helped introduce these people to the female that he will compare all others to.



Are we making a difference?

we are.

we will.


glitter..until there is a cure..


  1. Linda says:

    Libby, you are so amazing! You and your kids are spreading the glitter and teaching me so much, not just about pediatric cancer but about life, death, grieving and making a difference. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you are doing to help kids all over the world with pediatric cancer. Hug, love and prayers! Beautiful and amazing!!!

  2. Kristen says:

    Glitter is spreading everywhere. This is making a huge difference.

  3. Lorraine says:

    Amazing site to behold! Children helping children. Changing the world one ribbon at a time…or is it two? Pink & Gold…until there is a cure

  4. Marlen says:

    Yes you are making a difference! And you need to do your grieving and coping with the death of your beautiful JENNIFER within your family your own way. Curiously, I read the comments from the last blog which I normally don’t do and saw the comment you got and your reply is just perfect. You have the support of professionals who can and will give you advice and I don’t think the comment you got was appropriate. I’m sure your kids will become very strong, passionate and loving personalities due to the death of Jennifer but especially due to the fact of how your family processes this tragedy and because of her amazing mother who is doing wonderful things.
    This is my first comment ever but I have been reading every post from you since february. You MADE the difference for myself. I was not affect by cancer at all before but I have two kids (4y and 1 1/2y) and now I’m working towards your goal “until there is a cure”. It is such a great gift you give everyone with this blog although I have no words for you other than I’m so sorry that this is even necessary and that you have to live this nightmare. The realization what it really, really means for somebody to loose their child, woke me up – and this is just possible because you write so honestly. I live in Germany and I try to spread the glitter here and to wake up more people!!! I’m amazed and so thankful that you and your kids can immediately see the difference you make – with fluttering but also with great opportunities like the high school action – please don’t second guess yourself about what you are doing because indeed you are doing important things. I think the biggest strength of your actions are the facts you are spreading because this increases awarness! THANK YOU

  5. Krista says:

    I loved seeing all the posters and flyers all over the school a couple weeks ago. They were everywhere! There was even flyers taped to the stairs inside. It was amazing. My nephew attends school there and he wore pink for Jennifer. It was all so very touching

  6. Emily says:

    I have absolutely no doubt that you are making a difference! Unravel is for sure spreading the glitter. I didn’t know before early February when my friend introduced me to your blog. I know now, and have spread those facts to my friends, family and students. I have flittered my entire neighborhood, my mom’s neighborhood, and random cars at Target and the grocery store. This is the fist step. And look at the money your campaigns have brought it!! It is nothing short of fabulous. Why is this happening? Because your words speak to people. Because you have the guts to share with us complete strangers your journey. You share your babies with us. Because people like me, who never knew Jennifer but now wish they did, see their own children in her sweet face. Because we can’t change what happened to Jennifer, but hope we can make a difference for someone else in the future. Because these statistics are unacceptable.

    Thank you for being brave. Thank you for Unravel. Thank you for wielding that glitter dusted sword and leading this army you have gathered. I, and so many others, are in this fight along with you, for them, because of her. Until there is a cure….

  7. Krista Lund says:

    I can without a doubt say that I feel the Kranz Family- all 6 of you are making a difference. Thank you for now I am able to teach my children about giving back. I am teaching my neighborhood through Fluttering about the lack of funding for pediatric cancer. I am teaching myself how to be a better mom and to enjoy all the small moments as well as the big celebrations. Big hugs to you all!

  8. Sarah says:

    This post is awesome in so many ways! The fact that all those high schoolers ran with something that you’re children started, gives me chills. I was at a housewarming party last weekend and my son was running around in their backyard. I asked him what he was doing and he said he was chasing the dragonflies. I noticed that they were a ton of them, it made me instantly think of you and your Jennifer. I am all the way across the country in NH, so wanted to let you know just how far her glitter is spreading. Thank you so much for sharing all aspects of your story, your family continues to amaze me with the strength you all possess.

  9. Lisa Jack says:

    How I love this. What a site to behold indeed.

  10. jessica says:

    a total side note…the fact that Nicholas seems to never have a shirt on is seriously the cutest thing ever…I love it, makes me smile every single time.

  11. Lorrin says:

    I’ve never doubted for a minute that you all would make a difference. I’ve just had feeling ever since you first started…a certainty. I can’t explain it, but it’s there. Thank you for sharing this beautiful example of how awareness is spreading and people are getting involved in the fight. It’s inspiring.

  12. Rachel says:

    This is amazing!

  13. Judy Lomas says:

    Of course you are making a difference! All that you have done is amazing in and of itself. It is even more incredible that you are managing to do it and still meet the needs of your family. While I, and everyone else in the world I am quite sure, wishes there was no such thing as any form of cancer, and while I wish that you had never had to learn all that you have, I am very thankful for your strength, courage, love and passion to do all this in the hope of helping others walking in your shoes as well as in the hope of making it unnecessary for anyone to ever have to take this walk. Sending love and prayers. . .

  14. I have also wondered if all the time I spend on Childhood Cancer Awareness/Action makes a difference. Just last night I was disheartened to see that our local newspaper had printed a sizable insert for Breast Cancer Awareness Month….with nothing being done for the kids this month. My cancer warrior seen this as well….she was heartbroken and said, “Mom, it’s not even October yet. What about the kids?” Exactly. But then I read your blog, and I am given strength to keep pushing forward and making people aware. Thank you for all you do….
    Chris mom to Zayla “third times a charm”

  15. Erin says:

    I am so proud to be your friend, stand behind you and support Unravel! You have always been and continue to be amazing! Thank you for the unimaginable sacrifice, your strength, and continued fight for all of our future! xoxo, e

  16. Bridget says:

    You aren’t making a difference. You are making thousands of differences. Everywhere and every day. A friend came with me to flutter last night and I was talking to her about you and Jennifer and pediatric cancer and how I truly believe that what you are doing and what you have inspired all of us to do will make a huge impact; will turn the tide on pediatric cancer. I feel that so strongly. I also talked to her about Jonathan. I hadn’t/haven’t read the comment you responded to so this was a coincidence (or something bigger than that) but I was talking about how heartbreaking it is for a boy his age, old enough to know but maybe not fully understand, to lose his older sister and best friend and to be immersed in grief. And that as unfair as that is, I was telling her, the way you and Tony have guided him through his grief, shown him yours, talked to him and encouraged the openness of heart he has at this young an age… Jonathan is going to grow into truly the most incredible man. And that is kind of amazing. So there you go. That is how I see the way you are all navigating this and I am confident I am not alone in that perspective, for whatever that is worth.

  17. Bridget says:

    Side note- reading this post brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful thing.

  18. Sue says:

    Libby, you and your family ARE making a difference! I’m both a parent of a childhood cancer survivor (my 8yr old daughter, also named Libby! – [and my journey to become a mother is remarkably similar to yours]) and a professional (I’m a Child Life Specialist and have worked with kids with cancer and their families for 28 years, I started and facilitate a bereavement support group for parents and do groups for bereaved sibs). You are an amazing and admirable woman and you are the best parents your children could have! You can add “Teacher” to the many hats you wear as I have learned a lot from you as both a parent and a professional. Thank you for so candidly sharing your journey with so many, I am a better mom and support person because of you.

  19. Kat says:

    I know you are making a difference in the world of pediatric cancer, the work Unravel does today is laying a foundation for a glitter revolution, that I know for sure. Your blog though, sharing your grief in the naked way you do; I believe you are making a difference by helping people heal. We are all grieving something, death, miscarriages, infertility, relationships, whatever big or small… everyone has a loss to process. For me, following your journey has helped me process grief that I have held on to most of my life, by your example if you can do it then so can I, one blog post at a time, its not pretty, but it is doable. Prayers for you always.

  20. Lyndee says:

    Happy tears. So proud of you and your family, Libby!! Hugs to all 6.
    You’re making a HUGE difference. Thank you for making me aware.
    Still spreading glitter.



  21. Katie says:

    You will. It is stunning what you and everyone else has been able to accomplish with just getting Unravel up and running in such a short time, and done SO well. From the graphics to…everything. It’s an impressive feat alone, and the funds and awareness already raised are indicative of you. Of Jennifer. Last September I had no idea September was Pediatric Cancer Awareness month. None. This year, I’ve seen several movements towards building awareness and raising money, not just Fluttering or related to Unravel. I’m positive it’s not a coincidence.

  22. Kevin says:

    You are making a difference for sure. There will be a cure and the money and awareness you are bringing to this god awful disease will certainly help. Maybe it will be that few thousand dollars which puts a grant in the hands of that cancer researcher, who may not even be born yet, but has an ah-ha moment and finds that proverbial golden egg. It may be in your life time or it may not but it will happen. I pray one day that you get the opportunity to go onto a news site and in big red letters read a headline that says “Underlying Cause of Pediatric Cancer Found – We Have a Cure”

  23. Donna says:

    In tears today. You ARE making a difference. And I’m glad you responded to the OP. Keep on Keepin ON!!!

  24. yvette says:

    All I Can say is your one heck of a mom Libby and I admire you for your doing, and the way your so open with your thoughts and most of all your family. Keep it up your amazing, so much love for JLK and the Kranz Family.

  25. Linda Blundo says:

    You ARE making a huge difference. I have learned so much. And am continuing to learn more. We all are. You are making a huge impact. Im sure Jennifer is so proud of her mom, dad brothers and sister. There WILL be a cure someday. We love you all. LOVE 4 JLK ♡ FOREVER 6 ♡

  26. Karen Zoucha says:

    You are making a difference…. do you know how I know…. because you have changed ME and we do not even live in the same state or even know each other. Also, through me sharing your story on my personal facebook page with my family, I have family members talking about your little girl, “Jennifer”, who again do not even know you… but through Jennifer… through you… through your family…. through your blog… then passed on to me… then me passing it on… others are speaking her name, being touched by your life, being informed about pediatric cancer, and spreading the glitter by leaps and bounds! Keep on doing what you are doing and Jennifer keep on giving your mommy those special moments that solidifies what she is doing in your memory and for your siblings!

  27. Jennifer Bishop says:

    You are no doubt making a difference. People are reading and learning and sharing the info. All of your hard word will make a difference at some point even if you can’t feel that way right now. You are amazing.

    And your son looks JUST like you 🙂

  28. Lorrie says:

    WOW!!! That’s INcredible!! What a fantastic, wonderful and empowering experience for your children! Maybe one of them will find the Cure!!!

  29. Corrie says:

    Beautiful story, Libby! You are writing the story of a journey. When driving home last night, Stacey and I decided that if what you and this army does, saves only one child, it all matters so, so much! It’s a beautiful and painful movement, with beautiful symbols and traditions, and fluttering and flittering have made it to my neighborhood too. So impressive that our young teens have big, big hearts!

  30. Katarina says:

    I just want to say yes, you are making a difference. My husband works with cancer drugs at a big pharmaceutical company. All the drugs he works on are intended for adult cancer. The last 11 months we have talked a lot about his work and I ask all the time whether they can make something applicable to childhood cancer. He started paying more attention to pediatrics too and now he tells me that they are looking into applying one of the drugs to pediatric cancer. I am so happy to hear every bit of positive news on pediatric cancer research and I’m glad that with my involvement with the Fluttering campaign I made my husband and other scientists more aware of the lack of treatment and funding of ped. cancers. All thanks to you!

  31. EMailman says:

    ******get this.. the facts that SPOKE TO THEM. It wasn’t just ones we had on our site. They were inspired to go.. and research and learn.. and then share.*****

    That is so meaningful and inspirational. These are the kids who will run the world eventually, and how wonderful that they are learning to think of others and to value life and to FIGHT for life. Jennifer’s great influence continues.

  32. kristen says:

    Love this Glitter! I was at the dentist last week, had my love for JLK bracelet on. The hygienist asked about it, I told her about Jennifer, and Fluttering – and she said “I love it! I got fluttered, I know her story, I helped spread the word and donated” Glitter is getting everywhere!!! Good work Jonathan, Good work Libby, Good work all you busy flutterers !! xoxoxooxoxoxox

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