Gini Dietrich

#FollowFriday: Jennifer Windrum

By: Gini Dietrich | August 24, 2012 | 

Not only is it #FollowFriday for Jennifer Windrum, it’s her birthday.

So first things first…


I first met Jennifer when she was creating WTF for Lung Cancer? (Where’s the Funding…and maybe the other meaning, too), to bring attention to the #1 cancer killer in the U.S. It’s also the least funded.

Her mom, Leslie Lehrman, has never smoked, but she has stage IV lung cancer, which is inoperable and incurable.

Yep. You read that right. She’s never smoked. In fact, 80 percent of new lung cancer cases are diagnosed in patients who have NEVER smoked or in former smokers who quit decades ago.

As part of WTF Lung Cancer, Jennifer looked to her mom for inspiration. She found NoMo and Phoenix, the sock monkeys who go back and forth to chemo visits, scans, and hospital stays and soon created prototypes of the pair.

NoMo and Phoenix were the start of “Sock Monkeys Against Cancer,” which SMACs cancer every step of the way. It also fundraises and gives a sock monkey to someone who has cancer. You buy one and a second is gifted. It’s that easy!

More importantly, though, is Jennifer’s mom is losing her battle with cancer.

Not only has she been tirelessly creating a new organization to build awareness of and provide funding for research of lung cancer, she’s working with her mom to plan her memorial service and funeral.

This is truly amazing to me and speaks to what a strong person she is. If you’re a consistent reader of this blog, you know how much I adore my mom. So I cannot imagine being in Jennifer’s shoes. It breaks my heart and makes me wildly impressed…all at once.

In honor of Jennifer’s birthday and of her mom, Leslie, I ask you to do a few things: Like the SMAC Facebook page so you are updated as the campaign grows, subscribe to WTF, Lung Cancer?, and wish Jennifer a happy birthday!

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • A perfect choice. jenniferwindrum  is an incredible spirit and I’ve happy to count her as a friend. She inspires and awes me with every update she shares about Leslie – and usually makes me cry. Big sobs. 

    •  @jasonkonopinski  That’s because you’re…wait for it…an idiot! (You know you’ll never live that down, right?)

      •  @ginidietrich I hate you. 

      • belllindsay

         @ginidietrich  @jasonkonopinski I want to know what you guys are talking about here!!! LMAO!

        •  @belllindsay Yesterday @jasonkonopinski DM’d me and said he had a phone call from someone trying to determine if he was an idiot. Of course, he meant “wasn’t an idiot,” but I think the Freudian slip is awesome!

        •  @ginidietrich  @belllindsay I’m not living that one down for a while. Dammit. 

        • belllindsay

           @jasonkonopinski  @ginidietrich Idiot. 

        •  @belllindsay  @ginidietrich Le sigh. 

        •  @jasonkonopinski  It’s pretty freaking awesome when someone really smart makes a mistake like that. You have to hang on to it for a very long time because it’ll be a while before it happens again. @belllindsay 

        •  @ginidietrich  @belllindsay Of course it had to happen in a DM to you. Of course. I’m obviously a masochist. 🙂

        • belllindsay

           @ginidietrich  @jasonkonopinski Oh, I do stuff like that all the time. World’s biggest dork. But I’m nobody’s idiot! HAHAHA! 

  • Another Omaha pick!   jenniferwindrum is one of those people who just makes you want to do better.  I can still remember when she started WTF.  It was amazing just to hear her passion when talking about the state of lung cancer funding.  
    While I was in college, she was one of those professionals who happily shared her expediences and time with students.  Great pick and happy birthday, Jen! 

    •  @HeatherTweedy  Oh duh. OF COURSE you know one another!

    • jenniferwindrum

       @HeatherTweedy You are a sweetheart, Heather. I keep telling people Omaha has the goods. @ginidietrich went to school in Omaha, so we can’t let her forget that!!!!

      •  @jenniferwindrum  @HeatherTweedy I could use some Old Market restaurant scene. 

  • belllindsay

    Hmmmm. Usually we make crass jokes and viciously cut up the people you nominate for Follow Fridays. Seems rather inappropriate – though I’m gleefully waiting for Howie HouseMusic ‘s contribution! Now I’m all confused and don’t know what to say, other than *way to go* and very inspirational. Thanks for the introduction Gini! 

    •  @belllindsay  I’m sorry to have confused you so early in the morning. You handled it nicely, though.

      • belllindsay

         @ginidietrich Thanks. Good thing I haven’t had a drink, eh? Phew! 😉 

  • magriebler

    Well, goodness. You ought to warn us when we need to bring Kleenix.
    A memorial service and a funeral are intended to be celebrations of a life well lived. Who better to help plan them than the person they’re intended to honor? Leslie and Jennifer, thank you for modeling an approach to dying that understands it really is about how we live.
    And happy birthday, Jennifer. Your mom must be so proud of the generous and fearless person you are. Your life is, and will be, a testament to hers.

    •  @magriebler You typically don’t have to bring Kleenex to #FF. Sorry! I’ll make up for it during Gin and Topics in a few hours.

      • magriebler

         @ginidietrich No worries. I’m a professional sob sister. I live for this stuff.

  • MarkStory

    There could be no better representative of a Follow Friday.  Well done, @ginidietrich .  Well done.

    •  @MarkStory Thanks for your help last night!

  • jenniferwindrum

    Oh @ginidietrich You are too, too sweet. Thank you so much for your awesome post. Made me smile and tear up at the same time. I am so grateful. If even one more person becomes aware that ANYONE can get this horrid disease through your #FF, then you have helped me do my job – big time. Thank you. And, somehow, I got older. I am blaming you for that one!!!! @magriebler @belllindsay @MarkStory @HeatherTweedy @jasonkonopinski Thanks so much for your kind words. It’s people like you that really keep me going…for realz. 
    And @belllindsay I love, love, love crass jokes. I live for them, so no need to stop now. Ha. And, have that drink already. I will gladly join you. 🙂

    • belllindsay

       @jenniferwindrum  @ginidietrich  @magriebler  @MarkStory  @HeatherTweedy  @jasonkonopinski HAHAHA! 9:32 am is a bit early even for ME! 😀 

      • jenniferwindrum

         @belllindsay  @ginidietrich  @magriebler  @MarkStory  @HeatherTweedy  @jasonkonopinski 
        Yeah, me too. But, it’s my party and we can drink if we want to, drink if we want to, drink if want to. You would drink too, if it happened to you. Drink up. 

        • belllindsay

           @jenniferwindrum  @ginidietrich  @magriebler  @MarkStory  @HeatherTweedy  @jasonkonopinski Oh. Yeah. I love you already! 😉 

        •  @jenniferwindrum  @belllindsay  @ginidietrich  @magriebler  @MarkStory  @jasonkonopinski Don’t you know, it’s never to early during a holiday……. Birthdays are holidays, right?

        • magriebler

           @HeatherTweedy  @jenniferwindrum  @belllindsay  @ginidietrich  @MarkStory  @jasonkonopinski And it’s always 5:00 somewhere.

    •  @jenniferwindrum  Love you! Happy Birthday!

  • Done, done and done again – happy birthday @jenniferwindrum – I can’t even imagine what you’re going through. I wish I could do something – so just call on me if I ever can, yes? A huge big virtual huge to you & your mom!

  • Huzzah and happy birthday, @jenniferwindrum ! Your grace and strength and courage are such an inspiration. Today, of all days, I offer you my family’s motto: “It’s 12 o’clock somewhere!” A toast to you, my friend, and a ginormous hug.

  • Done, done and — Happy Birthday @jenniferwindrum — done! I admire the strength, courage and love you and your Mom exude. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • dc2fla

     Jennifer Stauss Windrum , you and your mom are an inspiration to us all. Happy Birthday to you. As a mom, I’m so grateful for Leslie, that she has witnessed so many milestones. @ginidietrich, what a wonderful tribute to this loving, dedicated daughter and amazing social entrepreneur! 

  • AnneReuss

     @jenniferwindrum  I found out about your story a while ago, and I’ve been following you – your strength will undoubtedly be a lasting example on all of us. I can feel your love for your mom and that’s the best part. Hugs and cheers! *holds up glass* Happy birthday girl! 

  • THIS is what makes the Internet amazing. I’m so grateful to know about @jenniferwindrum and her amazing, courageous and inspirational story. Go, Mom! Go, Jennifer! Go, Gini! (And of course, Happy Birthday!)

  • Happy Birthday. My best to you and your mother.

  • I imagine you’ve made your mom (and a lot of other people) very happy and very proud. Happy birthday, Jennifer!

  • jenniferwindrum

    Holy cow. Huge thanks to you all for your kind words and well-wishes. I so appreciate them. Think I’ll have a SMAC! cancer birthday shot tonight…not really sure what that would entail, but I could have a lot of fun trying to figure it out. Right?  Thanks again and hugzzz to you all. @barrettrossie @TheJackB @dc2fla @Shonali @AnneReuss @TedWeismann @mickeygomez 

    •  @jenniferwindrum  who are all these people you thanked Jennifer? Didn’t I see them on America’s Most Wanted?  @barrettrossie  @TheJackB  @dc2fla  @Shonali  @AnneReuss  @TedWeismann  @mickeygomez 

    • AnneReuss

      You could have it birthday cake flavored with sprinkles on the rim. @jenniferwindrum @barrettrossie @TheJackB @dc2fla @Shonali @AnneReuss @TedWeismann @mickeygomez

  • jenniferwindrum

    Dang it….forgot to include @jeanniecw . No, I haven’t started drinking yet. 🙂

  • Better than being a guest on Oprah I am sure. I wouldn’t know since @ginidietrich refuses to get me on her show.
    Grats and many blessing to you and your mom Jennifer.

  • So sad. Good job Jennifer.

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