Ep 281 Best of Replay – Conversation with Christy Brown Childhood Cancer Research and How You Can Help

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Today I am sharing a recent conversation with Christy Brown, Senior District Manager at Medtronic, and her work to help advance childhood cancer research.  This is a best of replay in an effort to share the amazing work she is doing and an upcoming event you can help be a part of.

There are so many ways you can help in the efforts so be sure to listen to what she and her husband are doing, why it’s important, and how you can help.

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Episode Transcript: Transcribed by OtterAI with minimal edits: You are listening to it’s your time podcast and I’m your host certified life coach Michelle Arnold Bourque, and today’s episode I’m sharing another multiply your impact series and our recent conversation with Christy Brown, senior district manager at Medtronic, and she is discussing the amazing work she’s doing and helping to progress childhood cancer research. Welcome to the richer time Podcast, the podcast where busy professionals like you get the practical solutions and support you need to gain control of your schedule so you can strive to be the best in your career, but without the stress and overwhelm. If you’re looking to increase your energy and decrease your stress, you are in the right place. Hello, hello. Hello. Welcome back to the podcast. Friends. I missed you last week. But the week before we had a marathon week of podcast for the mentoring series program. And now we are back to our normally scheduled programming. And I do just want to say mentoring week was a blast. We had so much fun and I especially love to see the comments on the guests LinkedIn pages about how much they have truly influenced the lives of so many people. And if you missed any of the conversations, I highly encourage you to go check out the entire series now today we are jumping back into a special episode for the multiplier impact series. And I have to tell you, this woman is amazing. Christy Brown is a senior district manager at Medtronic and she serves on the board of advisors with her husband Matt. They are rally Chicago co founders and parents of rally kid Alexander the release of this episode is in fact on National Childhood Cancer Day. And Christy and Matt are serving as speakers for the first global Onko THON by unco daily with Uncle heroes Biosciences. And this conversation Christy sharing the story of her strong little guy Alexander, the amazing work that she is doing around progressing childhood cancer research, why it’s important and how we can all help her and her husband’s initiatives are not only multiplying impact, they are changing the future for kids and families. So without further ado, please take a listen. Thank you so much for being here. Can you start by introducing yourself in a way that you most like? 2:23 So thanks so much, Michelle. So I’m Christy Brown. First and foremost, I’m a wife and a mother to two amazing children. Charlotte is 10 and Alexander just turned five. I have a friend neighbor. I really truly love my Medtronic family. I love working for Medtronic and blue blue. Have seen fantastic love and parents and fun fact my best friend from seventh grade and I married brothers. So we kept it all in the family and our little girls are just a year apart and our little boys are four months apart in age. Michelle Bourque 2:56 Oh my gosh, how fun. That is great. Okay, now this series is the multiplayer impact series. And today you are here to talk about a very important cause. So maybe the best place to start might be if you can give us a little background. You mentioned Charlotte and Alexander. So maybe you can talk a little bit about your amazing little guy. Yeah, 3:17 so Alexander just turned five on January 10 With Also fun fact just happens to be our founder Earl buchan’s Birthday turned 100 This this past June return. So Alexander is just truly a bright shining light in this world. Anything you could want in a little boy, he’s smart, so polite, so funny, really of interest and never willing, never afraid to take a risk. And he just loves to read and adores his sister. I mean, idolizes Charlotte and will repeat and do whatever she asks him to, which makes for some interesting times, but back on June 4 of this past summer, we were on family vacation. And our little guy was, I mean, just truly out of nowhere really minimal symptoms, was diagnosed with a very high risk type of mental low blastoma, which is pediatric brain cancer. And from there, it is the longest or ever I’ll have to give people you know, the journey that they can read online. But it was just truly remarkable how our friends family and especially my Medtronic colleagues, and I call them my work family because there’s there’s no line for me anymore, came to support and to help us from, you know, weaning and coming to visit Alexander to helping us get transferred to Atlanta where he had a neurosurgery using the Medtronic self navigation. Device. They have surrounded us with so much love and support and my team especially I can’t thank them enough in winter in Redlands in Europe. ration but really across all of Medtronic. So that’s kind of the highest level, I could probably tell the story for hours. But that’s kind of what we experienced recently. That’s nothing short of a tragedy and nothing any parent should ever experience. Michelle Bourque 5:14 No, absolutely. And I know that you and your husband have been very intentional with the work that you are doing. So can you maybe share a little bit about what you’re helping to do for progressing childhood cancer research? Speaker 1 5:27 Yes. So in Atlanta, you know, I remember getting these texts from these people naming different names, I had no idea who they were. And it really, they were just kind of the most amazing people that came, we’ve just the day after literally the day after June 8, after he had neurosurgery. And they were from Raleigh Foundation. And Chelsea Reed Dean, we just got to know them. So well. And Chelsea got to know the kid, she’s a child life specialist with Raleigh, um, who comes and supports the kids as they understand more and more about what is happening. And frankly, I didn’t know what was happening. And I learned so much from her as well. So she, she and we came to visit and we got to know Dean a little later on, Amy come to visit and brought us you know, water bottles and clothes and you know, just different things, blankets, because we were we were on vacation, and we had gone straight from Florida into this just crazy world. And so they really became they became our, our family. And we’ve kept in touch. But what rally Foundation does is really tries to, you know, raise money, raise awareness for childhood cancer research. And it’s, it’s really incredible the work they do and how they’re rated, call them on GuideStar. And we have just been committed that we want to raise money for research, but not just for necessarily just put on childhood brain cancer, really no child should ever face to face these types of situations. Michelle Bourque 6:55 I think that’s obviously so important. And I have a two part question as follow up because you do talk about the importance of being a Medtronic employee. So the first part I would say is, why do you think that’s so important? And then number two, when we’re talking about no child or parent should ever have to face this? What do you suggest for folks that might not have such a support system? Like you? You do? 7:21 Yeah, I think, you know, a huge benefit of being a Medtronic employee is learning the medical world. And again, I’m really fortunate to have worked in a couple of different divisions of Medtronic and have gotten to know a lot of fantastic people. You know, I think reaching out and, you know, sharing your story can help those people that don’t have a support system. But another huge benefit of working for Medtronic that I’ve been passionate about, even before diagnosis of Alexander is what we are afforded from a better benefit perspective on the volunteering giving website. And I’ve learned so much even since diagnosis of what we can do, but all of our employees are eligible for up to $5,000 Match per year, to the organization of their choice. And it’s really simple to do. There are volunteer grants, where you can log your volunteer hours and logging all your hours is great, so that we know what are Medtronic families doing. And then you can select an organization that those brands go towards. There’s also a website where you can create an event, you can create an event, which is I guess, where I’m going next, which I just created my first one called rally on the runway where people can volunteer and learn more and participate virtually or in person, it’s going to be in Atlanta, and Alexander is going to make his debut of time more about that in a minute. It’s such a huge benefit to Medtronic employees that so many people don’t realize that. Michelle Bourque 8:52 Yeah, I think you’re right. For the longest time, I didn’t realize number one, maybe I did a little bit realized. But number two, I thought it was much more entailed than what it actually is like, it’s so easy to actually go and to donate and to get it done. It’s not anything that takes hardly any time at all. So I would highly encourage folks to do that only a lot of options. For Medtronic employees, there really Speaker 1 9:16 aren’t. And I’ll share another benefit of working for Medtronic that’s not necessarily related to philanthropy. But that has been really impactful for me and my family. And I actually learned about it. I didn’t know about this resource. I learned about it. Through his his daycare, we have a partnership with Bright Horizons and his preschool let me know Hey, because we he couldn’t go to school and he can’t go to school all the time right now while he’s in treatment. And we have the benefit of backup daycare, we get 15 days per year where we can pay a copay of $10 and have backup daycare and there’s also an option for in the home. But I know there’s a lot of working parents that you know, something happens or you know, schools called off but maybe preschools are still open And so that’s a fantastic. It’s called that backup childcare resource that has been so important for Alexander to be able to go to school for the few days a month that he can. And it was just so thankful for my awesome HR business partners to to help me navigate that and then sign up for that. Michelle Bourque 10:20 And this back to your rally on the runway sounds like it’s going to be a super fun event, I saw your face kind of light up when you’re talking about how he’s going to be making his debut. Can you talk a little bit about that, and also how folks maybe who are not Medtronic employees, so two parts, how the Medtronic employees can participate. And also, if you’re not a Medtronic employee, how can they help to support? Oh, 10:41 yes, awesome. Well, thank you so much. We’re really excited. So the CEO and CEO of rally asked us back in December, if Alexander would like to be a rally cut on the runway. And so he’ll get to walk down the runway at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, escorted by professional athletes, so it’s really special for him. And you know, some kids are shy, this kid is not shy at all. So I know he will love it. And, yeah, so there are a lot of ways. So the timing of this contest is actually really perfect, actually, at midnight is when the challenge starts. And so the challenge is just a really fun, friendly competition to raise as much money as we can over the next 10 weeks. And it’s pretty strict, it starts and it stops. But there’s a lot of ways that people can join. Even as simple as you know, depending on the bandwidth, as simple as sharing on social media, letting friends and family know about it, they can help us find auction items, they can come and buy a ticket and come in person to see Alexander if they live nearby or want a fun trip to the Georgia Brian, it’s gonna be incredible, incredible evening. And so there’s a lot of different ways, you know, depending and we’re just appreciative for anybody that’s willing to, to join in and help and it’ll be a great celebration, because I know his team is going to definitely win. And there’ll be fun photos at the end with the trophy. And, you know, just a celebration that the evening of April Tov, Michelle Bourque 12:06 oh, that’s so fun. So from February 1, and till so it’s 10 weeks after that, that the competition goes and then is the event and midnight, Speaker 1 12:16 February 2, title Tov, and again, I don’t know if you’re able to share it, Michelle, not to put you on the cloud like links that have some links that we can share both Medtronic and External links to let people know how they can do it. And again, we’re appreciative whether it’s, you know, $2, being matched just to share on social media, anything really does help. Because I can tell you, I have talked with Matt, my husband a lot. And you were completely ignorant. I grew up in Tennessee, with the name St. Jude and I had really no idea what St. Jude was, you know, and a foundation like rally foundation that does such incredible work, and partners with families to help them in the most dire of situations. It’s just so so important. So I’m so thankful for you taking the time to get to know me a little bit better and share his story. Michelle Bourque 13:04 Oh, absolutely. And speaking of sharing his story you had mentioned when you were talking about you could go on for hours and talk about it. Where would people go to to kind of learn more about that? Yeah, so Speaker 1 13:15 there are a couple of different ways. Some people are on Facebook, so I can share you his Facebook, his Facebook group where we keep updates. I mean, he actually has a website that my my dear friend purchased and created for him, Alexander strong.org. And then there’s a rally page that that has a brief overview of the story and, you know, obviously links to the event for rally on the runway itself. Michelle Bourque 13:39 And do you want to talk a little bit about the bumblebee? Speaker 1 13:43 Oh, the bumblebees, so it’s kind of a crazy story. So my grandma was my best friend growing up and she passed away when she was 94. But 2526 years ago, she’d given me a bumblebee necklace and call me a worker bee which is kind of the truth, I think. But she got to meet Charlotte. She didn’t get the chance to meet Alexander when he was born. And so I bought a little knitted Bumblebee outfit for his newborn photos. And my friend took pictures in her honor. And so it’s just interesting because a few years ago found a commencement speech that Earl Bakken had written for the University of Hawaii and it referenced by Bumblebee couldn’t fly. And so Alexander being born on Dawkins birthday and this symbolism of the Bumblebee both for me and for Earl and even in the Bakken Museum, I’d taken the kids to the bucket Museum and in Minneapolis, and there’s a section of the gift shop that sells Bumblebee items and I just like wow, all the worlds colliding. I’m just, you know, amazed all the time of the significance that the bee has come to mean to me. And you know that it was also something that that spoke to Earl and he is the he’s the man that started the company that now provided the navigation Still navigation that I was in I had to get that restore resection that he had. And that was the first step. You know, industry, man, so, yeah, the Bumblebee has a lot of meetings, which are pretty crazy. I get goosebumps sometimes I’m like, where I find them. It Michelle Bourque 15:14 totally when you tell the story, I’m like, Oh, I have goosebumps. Like there. It’s all meant, I believe in all of that stuff. And I could totally see how you how your grandma might think that you’re a worker bee because I am so inspired by you, like I look at you are on. On LinkedIn, you’re always doing the work with all of this going on. So I just want to like, hats off to you. You’re such an inspiration. Yeah, Speaker 1 15:39 well, thank you. I couldn’t do it without my amazing team. And even yesterday, I thought it was a sign we’re going into negotiate. You know, for simplicity blood pressure procedure with I was with my rep Erica. And we walk in and they’re the cafe is the bumblebee cafe. And I’m like, oh, and my grandma are here. I was like, We got to take a picture because this means we’re going to win. So I couldn’t do without my team. My my directors. So cupola, my VPS Carla, John, and then everybody on my Midwest team, my colleagues, other DMS like Amy Hershey and Hina, that came all the way to Memphis when we’re at St. Jude to say hi to my son. And just to give us hugs, I mean, it’s truly remarkable. I know there are so many people, when they have Burman in the neurosurgery team helping us get transferred to Dr. Brahma at Choa. The list goes on and on. And if I didn’t say your name, it’s there’s there’s so many people who have been there for me and my family, and I am forever grateful. Michelle Bourque 16:41 If we missed anything, I have another question before we close out, but I want to make sure that we’ve hit what you wanted to as far as talking about rally and about the event and making sure everybody knows how much fun it’s going to be. Yes, it’s 16:55 going to be fantastic. We’re going to raise so much money. And the way I always say it is we’re doing everything for Alexander that we can and all we can do is fund the future. And so that’s really what is behind mine and Matt’s passion. And we’re just really excited and something fun to look forward to as he ends this next round of treatment, and we’re exploring a trial, but this will this will be a really celebratory event for our family. Michelle Bourque 17:27 Okay, before we close out since this series is about folks that are multiplying their impact in the world, and we see all of the amazing work that you are doing, do you think there’s a who or what I guess in your life that has made some of the biggest impacts? For you? Gosh, you know, I have to say, as far as being inspired to give back to the community, even before diagnosis, I’m getting involved with the organization new moms that I’m on the board with and shared their gala last year. I will say my bylaws, especially my father in law, he’s always been just somebody who’s inspired me in that way. I’ve seen so many people in our spire network with the mission work that they do. Kendra and Kristen, and Marissa just to name a few. And I just always am so humbled by the the effort that people are willing to go to do all of this and in their vacation time. So I don’t know if that’s the question you’re asking. But I definitely have so many people around me, that inspire me in all different sorts of work that they’re doing wherever their passion is. And I guess Michelle, that’s that’s the end. I guess my final thought is, I just want to encourage people to take advantage of the resources, whether it’s, you know, I would love it if people were to choose to donate and match for rally, but that they take advantage of all of the funds that are available to support the efforts that they’re close to and that they’re passionate about. I Michelle Bourque 18:54 was gonna say, when you were talking, I was like, Oh, that word stands out passion. I feel like more of us need to start to pay attention to that and kind of follow that intuition that we get in our gut. Speaker 1 19:04 Yeah, yep. And one of my, one of my favorite phrases is, this doesn’t, you know, doesn’t mean that I can create things that I just tell my mentees to speak things into existence, one of my favorite quotes, like say it out loud, believe in it, but you’ve got to repeat it, write it down and make it happen. And I think that’s whether it’s your work, that Medtronic, your work in different company, or what you’re doing in the community, you know, just said out loud, Believe in it and make it happen. Michelle Bourque 19:33 Oh, my gosh, I am still on board with that. I think our energy right, when we show up in our energy and what we believe then we are able to achieve it. Absolutely. Thank you so much for being here. What are the best ways for folks that maybe to connect with you professionally, I’m gonna guess LinkedIn but then also for people to again, kind of just support rally Alexander kind of just a quick overview and then we will have the links in the notes also. 19:58 Okay, all right. Yeah, that’s it. LinkedIn, I do share updates again, because Alexander’s official electronics, so there’s no great it’s all gray area, I’ll be sharing updates. In the morning, I’ll be sharing all the links on social media and through his Facebook page. But some people don’t use all that. And so Alexander strong.org, if you’re not on Facebook or LinkedIn, if you’re not a social media person, and people get those updates, and they you can sign up for text messages or email updates through that website also. So lots of ways we try to want to share his story and his journey. People want to know how he’s doing and so want to meet people where they’re at. Michelle Bourque 20:35 And so hopefully, people are getting ready to get after the challenge, because it’s on. Yes, Speaker 1 20:41 tomorrow morning. Let’s go. Well, thank you so much. And if there’s anything that I can do, to support I know, I was just connected recently with a person in Minnesota son who was you know, going through something similar to Alexander’s, and I am here to support other colleagues in the same way that I’ve been supported. So thank you Michelle Bourque 21:02 so much for being here. Yeah, 21:03 thank you. Michelle Bourque 21:04 Okay, am I right, or what amazing, the strength and energy Christy has is unmatched. Please do be sure to check out her LinkedIn page and share for all of the information around the ankles on if you’re listening on the release date of February 15. And for sure, all of the information on the rally on the runway, which is happening in April. Okay friends, it’s so nice to be back. Let’s meet here again next week. But for now, make it a great day. Take care Did you know you can take this work to a deeper level with me one on one. Go to Michellebourquecoaching.com and click on get started to begin

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