Our patients and the media…the story behind the headlines….
It was a big day for the Decker Family. They were here at the hospital, waiting to get the test results and learn if Lily’s cancer had spread. You could feel the tension in the air. Also waiting in the room with them to hear the news was a reporter and photographer from The Columbus Dispatch.
So how do parents, like Erika and James Decker, decide to share such a personal and intimate moment with the media? A moment, among many others in Lily’s cancer journey, that were documented in a two-part series that appeared this Sunday and Monday on the front pages of the Columbus Dispatch. (there are also some amazing videos on the Dispatch website).
For many parents, sharing their personal story is a way to raise awareness of their child’s condition but for others, it’s a chance to give hope – even if one other family is helped, the impact can be immeasurable.
What readers of the story didn’t know is that Lily asked for reporter Misti Crane and photographer, Chris Russell to be there when she heard her news. Many people might think working with a reporter would be intrusive but in the course of covering her story, Misti and Chris formed a special bond with Lily and she knew they were pulling for good news. Thankfully everyone got their wish and Lily’s news was great– no more chemotherapy for now. In fact, Misti and Chris followed Lily to Flying Horse Farm (they even stayed overnight) to capture Lily’s first and last days at this year’s camp.
Dozens of hours were put into this behind-the-scenes look at pediatric cancer and we’re thankful to have a daily newspaper that cares enough about these issues to give them this attention. With so many daily newspapers in trouble, it’s great to have such a strong one here in our community.
We work with hundreds of reporters who tell the stories of Nationwide Children’s each year. In nearly every case, we find the reporters are extremely respectful of patient privacy and family wishes. Unfortunately, there are some exceptions but they are few and far between.
So, put yourself in the Decker’s shoes – Would you be willing to share your personal story with the media? Tell me what you think. I’m not sure what I’d do if faced with the Decker’s circumstances but I am thankful for brave kids like Lily who have amazing stories and courage to spare.