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Helping mamas talk to their kiddos about breast cancer
261 backers pledged $19,158 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$19,158

261

  • personalized, fill-in-the-blank book called Mama Has Cancer
  • for young children (ages 0-3 or 4-6) to help explain breast cancer in the family
  • our project will create and print 1000 copies!

About This Project, by Chelsea Harper and Brook Irwin

When we were diagnosed with breast cancer, we both had kids under age 3 and immediately wondered “how will this affect my child?” Books that are available generally tell one particular story, which may or may not match that of a newly diagnosed mama. In the aftermath of a diagnosis, our storybook is designed for young children (ages 0-3 or 4-6) to help explain breast cancer in the family.

Our first illustration for Mama Has Cancer
Our first illustration for Mama Has Cancer

Why You Should Fund Us 

This storybook addresses a need for moms diagnosed with breast cancer who have young children. The storybook will help families and other people in their community support systems explain breast cancer to young children and will be a touchstone for all family members to refer to over time. 

We are professionals. Between the two of us, we have experience in education, early childhood development, counseling, creating books, curriculum development, writing, and editing. We are also aware of what we don’t know and we research and consult with others as needed.

Our goals are realistic. We have carefully designed this project to have a clear end point. The goal of this project is to create our storybook, and it is an important one. Once we reach our storybook goal the sky’s the limit! 

Our budget is very simple, and includes: book completion and production fees ($11,000), rewards for backers and fulfillment fees ($3,000), and the Kickstarter/Amazon percentage (10%). Almost every projected budget expense is significantly discounted, and we will continue to search for local businesses who may wish to discount/donate their services. 

About the Authors

Chelsea Harper and daughter, 2012
Chelsea Harper and daughter, 2012

We are two mothers of young children, living with Stage IV breast cancer in Portland, OR with our husbands and kids. We come from professional backgrounds of counseling and education (see our full bio in the right-hand column). We found each other at a conference for young survivors, where we discovered that we had both created a book for our own kids after not finding the resources we needed. We feel strongly about this storybook as a helpful tool for other moms dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis.

Brook Irwin and son, 2011
Brook Irwin and son, 2011

We have passion for, and commitment to, this project. And every time we meet, we leave feeling energized, inspired, and excited. This is a lovely change for us as juggling medical appointments, treatments, scheduling child care, and waiting for lab results often has the opposite effect!

About the Book

The Storybook Project was founded to create a personalized book called Mama Has Cancer. The book has fill-in-the-blank opportunities, so any family facing breast cancer can create a book that mirrors their experience. It is designed to touch on the key talking points needed for a child to understand what is happening. This helps the child with transitions and changes as mama deals with treatment options and potential side effects. Families look different: they include fathers, grandparents, siblings, neighbors, and other people. Our illustrations will be designed so that diverse readers can see themselves in the book's pages. 

The book has rings so “chapters” can be added, removed, or put in a different order. A sticker sheet is included with suggested phrases to fill in the story. This unique book can be used immediately after diagnosis or at any time during or after treatment, and can be compiled as each step in the process becomes clear. 

Our project involves creating and printing 1000 copies of our prototype book. We will also gather feedback about the book from families who can make use of it so eventually we can approach publishers!

What We Have 

• the first draft of our book text

• an illustrator with over 30 years experience ready to go: http://www.pennyhoodart.com, and in fact she’s already created a few images! 

• years of ideas for both of us on scraps of paper, in conversations, and now in step-by-step project format 

• a clear project budget 

• a small group of friends, family, and colleagues who are supportive of our project 

• an extremely generous donation by Wayne Paige of Wave One Group with help from Hunter Richards for our wonderful video! 

• a collage by a young survivor mama, titled "Love, Hope, Family" that will be the image for most of our rewards

Love, Hope, and Family by Heather Giles
Love, Hope, and Family by Heather Giles

We’ve done our research about successful Kickstarter campaigns and have applied this research to our project. We are prepared to succeed. 

What We Need 

We need your generous donations during the month of October. We need people who believe in this project to support our goal by donating as much as you can. We are asking for $15,153.00. If we don’t meet our funding goal, we don’t get any money (that's how Kickstarter works). Any extra funds will go towards (phase two!) finding a publisher, creating an online storybook site where families can personalize their own book, and getting this resource out to the people who need it. 

Every bit counts…small donations are much appreciated. We are grateful for your support.

Risks and challenges

The risks we can think of include a delayed timeline for book production if our illustrator is working on other projects (although we've built in extra time already) and a possible time crunch sending our rewards around the holiday season (but we've accounted for that as well).

As colleagues we have been working on this project for 6 months so we've had to practice good communication skills, clarifying our ideas in writing and in person, resolving minor disagreements, and supporting each other as mamas and friends. We don't forsee any obvious issues in our working relationship but we are careful about resolving anything that crops up sooner rather than later!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    PERSONAL THANK-YOU MESSAGE from us; ongoing project updates

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    19 backers
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    Pledge US$ 15 or more About US$ 15

    COLLAGE DIGITAL IMAGE and a thank-you message from us; ongoing project updates. We've commissioned a collage by a young survivor (see 'What We Have' for image) that perfectly reflects the spirit of our project!

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    10 backers
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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    MAGNET (see 'What We Have' for image) and a thank-you message from us; ongoing project updates; digital image of collage. All backers $25 or higher also receive recognition on our website. Perfect stocking stuffer!

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    48 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 35 or more About US$ 35

    SET OF 8 NOTECARDS (see 'What We Have' for image) and a thank-you message from us; ongoing project updates; digital image of collage; recognition on our website. Write to someone you love!

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    11 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    COLLAGE PRINT (size 16x20", see 'What We Have' for image) and a thank-you message from us; ongoing project updates; digital image of collage; recognition on our website. Holiday gift for the mamas on your list?

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    25 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    BOOK: MAMA HAS CANCER, and a thank-you message from us; ongoing project updates; digital image of collage; recognition on our website. Give the book away, donate it...

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    Limited 13 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    MATTED PRINT OF COLLAGE (size 16x20", see 'What We Have' for image) and a thank-you message from us; ongoing project updates; digital image of collage; recognition on our website and the book, Mama Has Cancer.

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    37 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5,000 or more About US$ 5,000

    ORIGINAL PRINT
    The first backer at this level will receive the original image of this beautiful mom and child artwork (see 'What We Have' for image). We'll send you all the other rewards too, we're that grateful. Thank you so much!

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Funding period

- (29 days)