By Chris Egan
There’s a saying out there that goes, “A true hero is not measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart.” This is something that Jackie Waters of Highland Heights, Kentucky realized as her sister, Tracy Bartlett Siemer, fought a heroic battle with cancer.
Tracy was the first official hero of HelpYourHero.org; a website and organization that helps children with ongoing medical needs find the heroes within themselves to fight their illness or disability. Tracy’s battle with cancer, and the heroic way that she faced it was the inspiration behind Help Your Hero, which Tracy’s sister, Jackie Waters, created.
Help Your Hero is an extremely secure, free, online community created for children with medical needs. After a parent or guardian creates an account the child creates their Superhero alter ego complete with an avatar, super hero name, and a personalized comic book style story. The child can then share that ongoing story with their family and close friends receiving support and encouragement in return. Many children with medical needs already display incredible acts of courage and fortitude while enduring ongoing medical treatment. Help Your Hero helps them tap into their inner “super hero,” builds on that courage, and helps them cope with their challenges and fears in a positive environment.
Tracy’s cancer eventually went into remission but it was during that time that her mother developed cancer. Tracy felt helpless and then realized that her family must have also felt the same way when it was her battling cancer. Years later, her mother had beaten cancer but Tracy’s had returned. She decided to create her own superhero persona, Superwoman T-Si, in part, to help eliminate the feelings of helplessness she knew her family must have felt. She took on her cancer with a super hero bravery and faith but Tracy unfortunately passed away on May 24, 2012, her mother’s birthday.
Tracy’s feelings of helplessness when her mother was diagnosed also influenced Help Your Hero. The website contains multiple resources for parents and family members for coping when your child is diagnosed with an illness and even tips on putting together benefits and fundraisers. Jackie calls the organization a “one-stop shop for helping your hero.” Parents, family, and close friends can share their support for the child while getting helpful information and even support for their selves.
Any child that is battling a disease, a disability, or any illness is already a hero. Many adults struggle to find the courage to face such sufferings. Help Your Hero, the website and the organization, is many things; a community of support, a creative outlet, a wealth of resources, but ultimately it is exactly what it says in its title; help. It’s help for parents and family during a difficult emotional time and most importantly, help for their heroes.
How can you help? You can help the most by sharing this story. Share it with your online community by using the “Share” button below or talk about it with friends and family offline.