Friday, December 21, 2007

Susan Reynolds and Frozen Pea Friday

Social media gets personal and Twitter is, once again and estimably so, more than the twittering machine that people might think it to be.

Meet Susan Reynolds an intensely amazing woman, who, as I write this, is recovering from surgery right now. In addition to her world of family and friends, there is an entire online community waiting to hear of her progress.

Susan is documenting her fight against breast cancer at her unblinkingly honest reportage at Boobs On Ice. Frozen peas played a role in soothing her pain after a visit to a diagnostic radiologist.

. . .

In the entry What's with the Peas, Susan tells it:

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.

• A bag of peas was something everybody could relate to.
• Some people love them, some hate them, some use them for their own injuries.
• A bag of frozen peas was a vehicle for conversation and let people tease me instead of having to cry.
• It let people share instead of bemoaning.

I napped a lot during the first few days after the biopsy. The news was sudden and stunning after all and my body was being assaulted.

Mmmm peas for lunch? When I fell asleep with peas in my cleavage I’d wake to the smell of freshly cooked peas. That made the story funnier, and more human. Of course I shared it because what is life but a series of stories.
After enough cooked peas I moved on to baggies with ice cubes or larger gel-packs which truth be told still are too big and too heavy to be comfy but help with pain. The peas however live on in the form of stories from others about their use of pea-packs and the line-up of twitter avatars sporting peas in support of my struggle.

This makes them a comfort in more than one way.

. . .

Susan's elegant grit has inspired an entire community that reads like a who's who in new media. This phenomenal outpouring of support, both emotional and financial, certainly takes the idea of Twitter as a conversation ecosystem even farther than that phrase's original definition as a business tool, something I found at Chris Webb's site. (@chriswebb is also a supporter.)

Susan, a major networker and presence at Twitter where she is @susanreynolds, posted an avatar of frozen peas tucked in her camisole. It wasn't long before her network, as well as new well-wishers and friends started doing the same. Everyone from Jim Long @newmediajim, C.C. Chapman @cc_chapman, Chris Brogan @chrisbrogan and Cathleen Ritt @cathleenritt to Biz Stone @biz and Loic Le Meur @loiclemeur. There is even a new Twitter account called @peaple that was started by Laura Fitton, Pistachio Consulting, an early and ardent supporter @Pistachio.

The Frozen Pea Fund with the tagline We will not appease cancer, was inspired by Susan Reynolds. You can find out more how the Fund was started at Community vs. Cancer by a post from the excellent Connie Reece @conniereece. Connie also poignantly holds forth at the Frozen Pea Fund in the Frozen Pea Friday entry. You can view the Flickr Frozen Pea Friday group here.

Many thanks to all the people who have been so generous with their time and talents. You can read Connie Reece's gratitude here and follow Susan's progress at her daughter's Twitter page @badwolf.

You can donate to the cause through the Frozen Pea Fund site or directly at this secure location. And please keep a good thought for Susan and her family and all women who battle this disease.

Open your heart to this worthy cause.



Jill Foster said...

Wonderful! Your prose peases me greatly... Another Susan fan from Twitter - Jill F.

Connie Reece said...

Thanks for this wonderful post about Susan and the Frozen Pea Fund. Susan inspired us to put the FUN in fundraising -- for a deadly serious cause. Welcome to my Twitter circle, and thanks again for your support.

Laura Fitton said...

Thanks for this. If only I could express what an early and ardent supporter @susanreynolds has been of me and my family thru some real blips... She had touched a lot of lives even before this. The sharing now is so wonderful to watch.

Anonymous said...

This is David Neff over at the American Cancer Society. Thanks for helping us the spread the word about something that effects thousands of women every year. Breast Cancer is treatable when caught early.


P.S. If your coming to SXSW hear us talk Frozen Peas at our Interactive Panel.