I want to do a little intro before the blog.. When we were trying to fundraise money for our family we found The Young and Brave Foundation. .. they helped us to raise money online, the only option we found that took a zero percent cut of the money donated. When Matt came for a visit a few months ago I invited him to write a guest blog about how pediatric cancer has impacted his life .. or really anything he wanted to share… Thank you Matt for sharing a portion of your story. In the above picture we are both holding onto a glitter picture of Jennifer.. but I couldn’t edit it to make that part show!
My name is Matt Coulter and I am the executive director of The Young and Brave Foundation. Just like every single person about to read this, JLK changed my life. A step or two removed from her family but affected dramatically, I think of her daily. Sitting in the kitchen with Libby and talking about life I felt compelled to share.
July 17, 2014 2:52am. I am sitting up at my desk and I make the final decision to quit my job and pursue the foundation full time. Literally I had been thinking about this for the better part of a year and just like that it was perfectly simple. I have been in the commercial/industrial real estate business in Los Angeles for the better part of a decade, hell I basically grew up in the business. I always have been self motivated, success came naturally and probably too easy. Sure I had my ups and downs, good deals and bad but I knew how to get the job done. I was told I was talented, would make lots of money and would be extremely successful. BULLSEYE…not so much.
Here lies the problem, not once was I satisfied. Not with the money, the toys or the praise. This feeling started out as a soft voice, I was able to put this voice on the back burner, forget about it for a while. Most days I talked myself into it. Getting from my bed to my office, I struggled(understatement of the year). “Am I going to spend the rest of my life doing this?” For a long time I justified not answering this question. I figured I should be lucky to have found something I was good at. But the more time went on this voice just got louder and louder, finally screaming so loud it was hard to think about anything else.
My partner and I started The Young and Brave Foundation in 2009 when his girlfriend at the time was diagnosed with leukemia. Really having zero idea what we were doing we put together a fundraiser to help with the emotional and financial burden that cancer had caused in a instant. From that moment forward the idea of the foundation grew and began spinning my wheels. How could we do more? I always knew giving back and treating others how you wanted to be treated was important, but at the time not that high on the priority list. Like so many things in my life… I was thinking when I get around to it. I knew I probably never would. Although just thinking about the idea of a foundation made me feel better, pathetic, I know!
JLK taught me the most important life lesson and answered two major questions for me. The life lesson was simple but so hard to see. She taught me that this life isn’t about me. It is why I was never satisfied. All my thoughts were about me. The second that my perspective changed from “me” to “others” the screaming voice in my head was suddenly silent. It took me 29 years to figure that out but JLK made it clear, for that I am forever indebted.
The first question she answered was that indeed our business model for The Young and Brave Foundation could work. It takes a village to raise and support a child, we at the foundation believe this with all of our heart. The family, supporters and total strangers that supported JLK emotionally and financially in her time of need proved this. I will never again doubt, what WE do as a village can change the world.
The second question she answered is much more difficult to talk about. It’s the elephant in the room, but the question I always ask myself, “Why would something so bad happen to such amazing young people.” (in this instance JLK). Many people may not understand or like the answer I am about to give but here it goes. Sometimes the brightest of stars are only meant to shine for a brief moment, to me JLK and so many of the other WARRIORS of The Young and Brave Foundation are these stars. As I see so many of our families go through pain I would never wish on a single soul, I needed to understand why? I have always related length of life to influence and success. I don’t know why but it has always been that way. NOT the case any more. The influence and vibration that JLK had on me will last for all of my days and will live on forever with the foundation. The answer is this…Sometimes things are not about WHY? but about PURPOSE. I know that all who read this will agree that JLK was taken from us all much too soon but the way she lived, the way she fought has left us with a legacy. A perfect little girl that will constantly inspire, LOVE and change lives for the better. Her answer to me was not about WHY? It was about PURPOSE and that PURPOSE was LOVE. LOVE is the basis of everything that we do with The Young and Brave Foundation. JLK proved to me that with LOVE anything is possible. She showed me this when I needed it the most. She showed this to all of her family and friends. She will continue to show that LOVE is always the answer. I can only aspire to shine as bright, thank you for leading the way Jennifer Lynn Kranz.