Chicago Meet, Co-Founder of Humor Beats Cancer Olivia Clarke
By Donte Chase Bridges | October 17th, 2019
A wise man once said, “There’s beauty in the dark; you must find it in your turmoil; you must bring it to the light.” Luckily for one young cancer survivor, the beauty that she uncovered was wrapped in the spirit of love, empathy, and the power of humor. What is her name? Olivia Clarke. What gift did she give back to the world? She created a Non-profit Organization that spreads humorous stories of people’s journey through and beyond their diagnoses. Who is she?
Olivia Clarke is the President and Co-founder of the non-profit 501-c3 Humor Beats Cancer. This organization provides adult caregivers, patients, and survivors of cancer, a digital platform to share stories of humor and triumph amongst like-minded individuals. Diagnosed with cancer at age 36, Olivia exemplifies what it means to be a person whose life is impacted by cancer, but identity and character remain intact. Through her charity work, fundraising efforts, and grant programs, Olivia Clarke is making her impact on the world by giving people the one thing cancer takes from them, their voice.
On Wednesday, October 16th, 2019, Humor Beats Cancer, partnered with Essa Dora Salon, hosted its 2nd annual fundraiser at the Half Sour, located at 755 S Clark St, Chicago, IL, right in the heart of the South Loop. This noble cause showcased nuances, such as raffles, auctions, delicious foods, and a chance for social/professional networking.
Amid her hectic week of planning this positive function, I had the pleasure of talking to Olivia Clarke to find out her inspiration and motivation in planning an event of this caliber.
SCENE: What was your inspiration for creating a cause of this magnitude?
Olivia Clarke: I had breast cancer in my lymph nodes, and I had to have a mastectomy. I also had to get implants. With everything that I was going through, I started to find the dark humor in going through this disease.
SCENE: What is the lasting impact you wish to have on the issue of cancer awareness?
Olivia Clarke: My goal is with this lonely and isolated time, while you’re trying to avoid death, help bring joy to the lives of those who are affected by cancer. This is a trying time in a person’s life, and Humor Beats Cancer hopes to make the process a little less lonely and a lot less stressful.
SCENE: Were there any obstacles that made it difficult for you to execute this event?
Olivia Clarke: Well, I had a passing in my family in the middle of planning this event that made it very difficult to focus. But I was able to take time, process, and get things done.
SCENE: What are the man hours and Manpower it takes to execute an event like the upcoming Humor Beats Cancer Fundraiser?
Olivia Clarke: Well, the first obstacle is to break through the noise to be seen and heard. Second, being able to have volunteers to contribute to your event, this makes the process of completing tasks a lot easier. Then, it’s great to bring experience from different boards and committees you’ve had in the past as far as securing a space. We’ve been working on making this event just right since about February.
SCENE: How do you feel your movement will affect adults in their 20s, 30s, and 40s dealing with this disease?
Olivia Clarke: I hope to give young people a voice, and I want to grow our connection through social media. We also have started a program where we give cancer patients care packages. Also, we have a grant program so they can be relieve of some of the financial burdens they may face.
SCENE: What would be some words of wisdom you would give to anyone going through a serious condition like answer?
Olivia Clarke: it’s your Journey. The decisions you make, the self-love you give, you’re still a person; cancer does not define you. Always remember to celebrate the little things.
For more information go to https://www.humorbeatscancer.com/