Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | Superhero Brandon Stanton helps fight pediatric cancer…with great storytelling!

May 23, 2016


Brandon Stanton wears many hats. Photographer, blogger, Humans of New York founder, and story curator are just a few of them. With his beloved Facebook HONY page, he has created a space through which he shares photos and stories, provides a platform for human interaction, and broadens connections between people by way of understanding, compassion, and empathy. HONY is the result of not only Stanton’s ambitions, but of the countless people who’ve shared their stories with the world. The narratives come alive through words and pictures, reminding us of the life-changing powers inherent in storytelling. It unites and humanizes us all. It also inspires movements…maybe even revolutions.

Most recently, Stanton put on his fundraising hat (along with his superhero cape) all for the fight against pediatric cancer. On behalf of Dr. O’Reilly, Chairman of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Stanton used HONY as a vehicle to help raise millions for the cause, and he did so through the careful curation of a two-week-long storytelling marathon. The narratives were sourced straight from cancer survivors, their parents, nurses, and doctors, including Dr. Boulad who, like his colleague Dr. O’Reilly, will soon be stepping down from his position at MSKCC. Some stories spanned one short yet impactful installment, while others were serialized into multiple passages.

The outcome of Stanton’s efforts? He basically partook in the creation of a movement. You can check out the Generosity page here. Generosity works off of Indiegogo’s engine and is geared toward socially-minded fundraising. The donation button still works as of today, so you’ve still got the chance to contribute if you’d like to. Dr. O’Reilly has raised nearly 400% of his goal, and great stories helped make it happen. Each of the narratives spotlighted packs a colossal emotional punch on its own. But together? Their collective power is pretty epic.

Below are a couple of stories that I chose from the lot. I found them particularly memorable, but it was hard to pick *only* two.

Before the marathon commenced, Stanton set the stage, inspiring both curiosity and anticipation at what was to come. Cancer touches us all, but the fight against pediatric cancer is sometimes even tougher to talk about. Because it’s about kids.

Have you been glued to your computer, watching HONY’s most recent fundraising endeavor unfold? Which stories captured your attention (or heart) most, and why? Did you end up hitting the Generosity donate button?

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Click to download stories.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Doris Cary May 28, 2016 at 9:08 am

My favortite story? “Third grade! Like second grade, but harder, I will teach you to be brave. 4 words for you: you’ll be on anesthetics.” These were tough stories, even for me, a three year cancer survivor. My other favorite: Max and his millions. So sorry he died. I hope the parents, kids and staff can rebuild. It takes resilience to beat adversity down. Really, really had to hear the struggles of he physicians . Thanks, Brandon Stanton, this story needed telling. We donated twice, first day and again at the $3.8 M dollar mark.

Pamela Grow May 31, 2016 at 3:51 pm

Thanks, Doris! So many wonderful examples of storytelling on the HONY page.

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