Friday, December 21, 2007

What's with all the peas?

Isn't it strange how one tiny thing can cause a whirlwind of attention? One person sharing a bit of their live can effect a whole community, and at the same time cause this community to band together to support this one single person.

So is the story of Susan Reynolds. Susan is an artist and new media consultant battling a dominant magpie gene and cancer, in other words Susan has breast cancer. Being an avid blogger/tweeter Susan decided to share her journey in her battle with breast cancer. Her blog Boobs on Ice chronicles her experiences. However this blog has become so much more than just a record, it has ignited and joined a whole internet community.

The first entry in Susan's describes her discovering the lump and all the tests she experiences in the process of being diagnosed.

She writes," When I discovered a very thick area in my breast I called the doctor. The next day I was in her office. A half hour after that I was in the diagnostic radiologist’s.
A full afternoon and multiple stab wounds later we had a variety of samples of malignant tentacles of tissue that were on their way to the lab.
I was in a little pain - it would increase as the local anesthetic wore off - but left his office with a soft cold pack in my bra.
To keep bleeding down & relieve pain I’d need to keep things cool. Traditional ice packs are hard and heavy. As much as I try to be a good sport I’m not into having a brick sitting on my chest.
Enter a bag of frozen peas.
I tucked it in my bra, took a picture, and was ready to tell the story later that night. That bag of peas added a touch of lightness to what could have been a sad and serious tale."
What Susan got was an Army of Peas. Peaple wanting to help, support and join in her battle. Show us Your Peas to Support Susan campaign appeared on Twitter, and in no time a green wave had covered Twitterville. Visit and you are sure to stumble across a peavatar. If not, visit the Flickr Frozen Pea Group you can view almost 300 different ones.


Yet this was not enough, the Army then tweeted:
"From @conniereece:
We’ve declared Fridays to be Frozen Pea Fridays on Twitter, and this Friday, on the day Susan has her surgery, we are launching a fundraising drive for breast cancer research. It’s called, of course, the Frozen Pea Fund. Susan has inspired us to put the FUN in fundraising."
So was born the Frozen Pea Fund declaring "We will not appease Cancer". The proceeds go to Making Strides, the breast cancer campaign of the American Cancer Society. In the first 15 hours after launch, the Frozen Pea Fund raised $3,493, and the march continues on.
I am peased to add that Susan is doing good as of last report. Both of her surgeries (mastectomy and reconstruction) went well and test results on lymph nodes came back negative which is an encouraging sign.


Meanwhile, Susan's story has covered the globe - from countless blogs, to magazines and the BBC news. The message continues to reach and touch new peaple. All of which is pretty amazing, considering this whole thing began with a blog, picture and a bag of peas.