Anyone impacted by the devastation of neuroblastoma will know and understand the importance of the work we do at Solving Kids’ Cancer UK. However if you haven’t been touched by this disease, the chances are that you haven’t heard of it and it’s because of this, together with our relatively small size, that we struggle at times to have the reach we need to raise wider awareness as well as the funds needed to continue the critically important work we do on behalf of children with neuroblastoma. The neuroblastoma community therefore plays such a vitally important role in helping us to extend our reach and to identify opportunities that will help our charity to grow and develop to ensure that more and more people not only become aware of neuroblastoma, but become moved to help us to do more. One of the ways that our supporters can help us to do this is by becoming an Ambassador. Ambassadors help to raise awareness of the disease and its impact, raise awareness of our charity and in turn help raise the funds and goodwill needed so we can go further, faster, in our efforts to bring an end to this disease. They act as an extension of our small team, to help us with introductions and opportunities usually only reserved for bigger charities with larger platforms. Each Ambassador provides this support in their own unique way and we are grateful to every single one of them and the role they each play in supporting our work. 

Introducing SKC Ambassador Iulia 

One of these Ambassadors is Iulia. Iulia is mum to a little girl called Odile who had been diagnosed with low-risk intermediate neuroblastoma shortly after she was born 2.5 years ago. Our charity supported Iulia in those scary and difficult early weeks and months when the family had to face a great deal of uncertainty and difficult decision-making around their daughters health. Iulia became an Ambassador earlier on this year as she was keen to find a way to give back and support us to have a bigger reach.  

Solving Kids’ Cancer Meets Google 

Our charity has been in the process of reviewing our strategy in preparation for our next five year corporate plan being launched in 2022, and Iulia wanted to help us with this important work. Iulia works for Google who have a strong commitment to volunteering and supporting the charity sector. As a small charity, working with a mega company like Google was something assumed to be beyond our reach but we were very quickly and pleasantly surprised to learn that supporting a charity and cause like ours is exactly something that Google like to do– it was just a matter of having the right champion, and Iulia is a true force of nature and passionate champion of our charity. Iulia introduced us to Albert Miquel, and through him, the wider EMEA Business Strategy & Operations team.  Through weekly, focussed meetings with Albert and Iulia, we determined that the best way to utilise Google’s expertise was for a focussed strategy day with them. Together we settled on three key challenge areas and then Albert and his team sought to identify Google volunteers with interest in skills in each area.  

What we Learned from Google 

In total, 14 Googlers signed up to participate and on a warm day in September this year, members of our team and Board of Trustees travelled to one of Google’s offices in London for a very full day. Aside from the very real excitement of being together in person, there was huge excitement about the vast Willy Wonka type environment of a Google office and it is no wonder that they generate so much creativity and out-of-the-box thinking in such unique surroundings. Those who weren’t able to be there in person were able to join virtually. We separated out into three work-spaces and with the benefit of the pre-work and presentations that had taken part prior to the actual strategy day, the Googlers challenged us, informed us, reflected with us and drove us. They stretched our thinking about what is possible, challenged our assumptions about what isn’t and inspired us to celebrate what is already working well.  

What these Googlers gave us is ultimately so much more than can be described within a short Blog post and its impact is far and above the single day we spent with them. Despite our small size, we have huge ambitions on behalf of children with neuroblastoma and their families. We are small but mighty, and fiercely passionate about what we know needs to be done and how best to do it. Our day with Google helped us to see that it is this ambition, this fight and determination, that is far more important than our present size and that we needed to think beyond these limitations, be unapologetic about it and be bolder about our asks. They reminded us to be proud of just how ambitious we are for children and how much we’ve already achieved with relatively limited means. These seemingly simple reminders have meant so much and these words of wisdom have worked their way into our daily mantras, both individually and as a wider team as the #BeBold ethos becomes slowly but surely part of our team culture and approach. It was this ethos in fact, that led to the reach-out on behalf of Luke, a young man very close to all of our hearts -  just by applying that #BeBold mindset, we were able to achieve for him something we never could have imagined. Google has helped us to see what is possible - and we intend to aim for the stars. The children and families we support simply deserve nothing less.  

#BeBold #BeMoreGoogle #Neuroblastoma #ChildhoodCancer