Chicago Mom of Young Cancer Survivor Joins CureSearch Event as Publicity Chair

Edan Gelt is a Chicago business consultant and mom of two – Kennedy, 10 and Maddox 12. She’s also the 2017 publicity chair for the CureSearch Chicagoland Superheroes Unite! event.

Edan became involved with CureSearch after her 4-year-old daughter, Kennedy, was diagnosed with leukemia on February 2, 2012.

It all began when Kennedy began exhibiting strange symptoms, like coughing, exhaustion, nausea and difficulty urinating, over a 2-month period. Despite numerous trips to the pediatrician, she remained undiagnosed. It wasn’t until the pediatrician ordered a blood draw, and after checking into Loyola Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois, that they heard the devastating news – cancer.

“It was a whirlwind – the day after she was admitted, they surgically inserted a port and started chemo infusion,” says Edan Gelt. “We met with Dr. Ricarchito Manera, a brilliant and kind doctor, who patiently sat down and gave us a protocol for her first 29 days called induction. He explained that after induction, she would be put on a randomized study, backed by CureSearch. The study would be based on her risk assessment from a bone marrow test.”

After a 5-day stay, the family returned the next day because Kennedy had a fever that she couldn’t shake. They spent the next month in the hospital, with Kennedy being poked and prodded, swallowing disgusting medication and having several blood transfusions, scans and tests during her stay.

 Edan Gelt Daughter and Husband

“She was so strong, so resilient, and trusting. She morphed into a tiny superhero, and we called her Princess K.”

Edan Gelt and husband alternated stays at the hospital, becoming ships passing in the night. Their son Maddox, who was 7 at the time, cried when they told him about his sister – more so because she got to have a sleepover and he didn’t. He also didn’t understand what leukemia was.

After 2 1/2 years of chemo treatment backed by CureSearch, Kennedy had her port removed and the chemo ended.

“One of the greatest gifts CureSearch gave Kennedy was the lack of cyclins in her trial. The standard leukemia treatment includes cyclin therapy, which has been known to damage the heart. Because of Kennedy’s risk level and the random protocol she received, her long-term effects of the chemo are less severe.”

Then on February 2, 2017, Kennedy celebrated her “cure” date from cancer, and she became Edan’s forever superhero.

While Kennedy was in treatment, Edan fundraised for the CureSearch Chicago Walk and helped raise awareness for the organization. Not knowing about CureSearch, her friends and family would donate to other organizations on Kennedy’s behalf, but the funds weren’t going directly to childhood cancer research.

“The problem is that children’s cancer can’t be treated like adult cancers because most of the treatments can be toxic to a child’s body, damaging their organs, mental health and more. To treat childhood cancer, specialized protocols are needed – like the lack of cyclins in Kennedy’s protocol.”

Edan Gelt believes in CureSearch, not just because of Kennedy’s amazing outcome, but because every dollar donated goes toward funding lifesaving research.

While working on public relations for CureSearch, she personally met and lost superheroes who weren’t as fortunate as Kennedy.

“Ana, Julissa, Tyler, Blake and so many others I met at the hospital while volunteering or while Kennedy was in treatment or no longer here to walk with us. It is for these amazing children, and children like them, that we need to continue to walk and fundraise CureSearch.”

The entire community is invited to join the Gelt family to celebrate Kennedy and all children with cancer – true superheroes – on September 24th at Boomer’s Stadium.

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CureSearch Event Publicity Chair for Childhood Cancer

Edan Gelt is a Chicago business consultant and mom of two – Kennedy, 10 and Maddox 12. She’s also the 2017 publicity chair for the CureSearch Chicago Superheroes Unite! Event. Edan Gelt became involved with CureSearch after her 4-year-old daughter, Kennedy, was diagnosed with leukemia on February 2, 2012.

It all began when Kennedy began exhibiting strange symptoms, like coughing, exhaustion, nausea and difficulty urinating, over a 2-month period. Despite numerous trips to the pediatrician, she remained undiagnosed. It wasn’t until the pediatrician ordered a blood draw, and after checking into Loyola Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois, that they heard the devastating news – cancer.

“It was a whirlwind – the day after she was admitted, they surgically inserted a port and started chemo infusion,” says Edan. ” We met with Dr. Ricarchito Manera, a brilliant and kind doctor, who patiently sat down and gave us a protocol for her first 29 days called induction. He explained that after induction, she would be put on a randomized study, backed by CureSearch. The study would be based on her risk assessment from a bone marrow test.”

After a 5-day stay, the family returned the next day because Kennedy had a fever that she couldn’t shake. They spent the next month in the hospital, with Kennedy being poked and prodded, swallowing disgusting medication and having several blood transfusions, scans and tests during her stay.

“She was so strong, so resilient, and trusting. She morphed into a tiny superhero, and we called her Princess K.” Gelt said.

Edan Gelt and husband Gene Khalimsky alternated stays at the hospital, becoming ships passing in the night. Their son Maddox, who was 7 at the time, cried when they told him about his sister – more so because she got to have a sleepover and he didn’t. He also didn’t understand what leukemia was.

After 2 1/2 years of chemo treatment backed by CureSearch, Kennedy had her port removed and the chemo ended.

“One of the greatest gifts CureSearch gave Kennedy was the lack of cyclins in her trial. The standard leukemia treatment includes cyclin therapy, which has been known to damage the heart. Because of Kennedy’s risk level and the random protocol she received, her long-term effects of the chemo are less severe.”

Then on February 2, 2017, Kennedy celebrated her “cure” date from cancer, and she became Edan’s forever superhero.

Edan Gelt
Kennedy Khalimsky, daughter of Edan Gelt

While Kennedy was in treatment, Edan fundraised for the CureSearch Chicago Walk and helped raise awareness for the organization. Not knowing about CureSearch, her friends and family would donate to the American Cancer Society or Leukemia and Lymphoma Society on Kennedy’s behalf, but the funds weren’t going directly to childhood cancer research.

“In fact, only 4% of funds go towards childhood cancer research. The problem is that children’s cancer can’t be treated like adult cancers because most of the treatments can be toxic to a child’s body, damaging their organs, mental health and more. To treat childhood cancer, specialized protocols are needed – like the lack of cyclins in Kennedy’s protocol.”

Edan believes in CureSearch, not just because of Kennedy’s amazing outcome, but because every dollar donated goes toward funding lifesaving research, While working on public relations for CureSearch, she personally met and lost superheroes who weren’t as fortunate as Kennedy.

“Ana, Julissa, Tyler, Blake and so many others I met at the hospital while volunteering or while Kennedy was in treatment or no longer here to walk with us. It is for these amazing children, and children like them, that we need to continue to walk and fundraise CureSearch.”

The entire community is invited to join the Gelt and Khalimsky family to celebrate Kennedy and all children battling cancer – true superheroes – on September 24th at Boomer’s Stadium.

CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, a national nonprofit organization based in Bethesda, Md, works to end childhood cancer by driving targeted and innovative research with measurable results in an accelerated time frame.

CureSearch is building a $10 million research pipeline to aggressively drive pediatric research grants and clinical trials that have a higher chance of becoming cures for children’s cancer without the toxic side effects that plague current treatment options.

CureSearch 2017 Chicago Walk

This year I am the public relations chair for the CureSearch Chicago Superhero Walk.  CureSearch was one of the first organizations I was introduced to when my daughter Kennedy was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 at the age of 4.  CureSearch was the logo on the stationary I took notes on.  It was the organization that sponsored the experimental protocol my daughter received after day 29, post induction.  CureSearch was also the beneficiary of the walk I attended in September 2012, only 4 months after my daughter was diagnosed.  To me, CureSearch is synonymous with childhood cancer research.

If Kennedy were diagnosed with ALL Leukemia in 1967, we likely wouldn’t have celebrated her 10th birthday last month.  In fact, only 4% of children diagnosed in the 1960’s with low-risk ALL Leukemia survived; today 94% do.   Although the 5-year survival rate for some childhood cancers has increased drastically over the past 50 years, still nearly 2,000 children under the age of 19 die each year – making cancer the leading cause of death by disease in children in the US.  42 children are diagnosed in the each day!

 Edan Gelt CureSearch 2017 Chicago Walk
Edan Gelt CureSearch 2017 Chicago Walk

While working on public relations for CureSearch, I personally met and lost Superheroes that lost their battle with cancer – Ana, Julissa, Tyler and Blake.  It is for these amazing children and children like them that we need to continue to walk and fundraise for Children’s Cancer Research.

Why CureSearch?

Edan Gelt believe in CureSearch because for every dollar donated, 58% goes toward children’s cancer research and education projects and 31% for fundraising to secure the funding to do it. Only 11% of every dollar goes toward operating the organization.  This says a lot.  There are many great organizations out there like the American Cancer Society or Leukemia and Lymphoma Society that fund cancer research but only 4% is dedicated specifically to children’s cancer research.

Children’s cancer can’t be treated like adult cancers because most of the treatments can be toxic to a child’s body, damaging their organs, mental health and more. To treat childhood cancer, specialized protocols are needed.

To help fund the future of cancer-fighting superheroes, join CureSearch on Sunday, September 24, 2017, at the Boomer’s Stadium, 1999 South Springinsguth Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60193.

Find CureSearch on Facebook @CureSearchChicago

Signup to walk at www.curesearchsuperheroes.org/chicago

By:  Edan Gelt

CureSearch Chicago Walk Chair

 

Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway

“Miracles are just a shift in perception from fear to love.”, Marianne Williamson

Five years ago, my 4-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia. At the time, I was working full time and running a side business, while my husband and I also managed property and he worked full time. We had a lot going on and the diagnosis was like being hit by a freight train.

I remember the fear in the hospital as we sat up all night, discussing what the long-term prognosis could be and what our lives as a family would look like. I had all these balls in the air and for the first time, I was okay if all my projects crashed around me; everyone would understand – my baby had cancer.

Day two, or maybe it was day three of our hospital stay; my husband and I sat whispering over our daughter. I’m not even sure what we were saying but she grabbed my hand and said something about it being okay.

My mother used to quote “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway”, by Susan Jeffers. She died 11 years before my daughter was born and I never truly understood what she was quoting until then. We felt the fear and we put on our grownup pants and moved forward, each action at a time.

The next few months passed and we learned a lot about what it took to keep moving when the world seemed like it was falling apart. Thankfully my daughter survived her 2.5 years of chemo and we kept up with all of our crazy activities. We were often asked “how we did it”, by friends and family – and the truthful answer was “we had no choice”.

 Edan Gelt Feel the Fear

Looking back, we did have a choice. We chose to live and here are some basic tips from our journey:

REMOVE NEGATIVE PEOPLE AND SITUATIONS

Run, don’t walk. Remove yourself from situations and people that cause conflict. Life deals us enough stress without being sucked in by energy vampires. Energy vampires believe their happiness comes from your lack there of. If you want to succeed in life, do the best you can to rid your world of these people. Usually taking a break from negative people and situations will give you perspective. Get rid of the drama.

STAY FOCUSED ON WHAT MATTERS

Make a list. On one side, right down what you need to get done now and on the other side, what you need to get done long term. Don’t get distracted by stuff not on the list, or stuff that doesn’t require immediate attention. I used a journal and a white board to keep me on task.

Edan Gelt’s Marketing as a Game of Chess

KEEP IT SIMPLE

Have a routine that doesn’t suck the life out of you. Include family time, a workout and a time for self-reflection. The busiest person doesn’t mean the happiest person. Schedule the simple stuff, like reading with your kids, a date night with your partner or even a nap. This way you give the people who matter most the same attention as you give menial chores or office work.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF

On an airplane, they always say “put the breathing mask on yourself before assisting others”. What is the importance of this? If you are helping someone else breathe before you’ve helped yourself, it is likely you could pass out trying to help and wind up being no good to anyone. Get some rest, take a shower, exercise, pamper yourself. When you are taken care of, you have more to offer the world. Besides, you just feel better about yourself when you approach the day.

JOURNAL

This is not an assignment but an outlet. It’s a way to release your emotions when it is 2am and the never-ending to-do list is flashing like a neon sign. Make a practice of writing just a bit each day and journaling when you need to. Write about things you experience – it could be aggravating situations, things that made you laugh, achievements you are proud of – whatever it is that comes to mind. This is your private place so go for it.

MEDITATE AND READ

Interesting that these two are combined? I’m awful at clearing my mind which likely means I need some yoga or meditative practice ASAP. However, when I just can’t get to yoga (my effort is poor) or get myself to sit still long enough to meditate, I read. I read something that is entertaining. It takes me to another place and lets me escape my mind long enough to reset it. Reading is my escape from my racing mind.

SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVITY

This is huge. It’s not fun to be the smartest or happiest person in the room. Find a group you can learn from. For me, it was moms whose kids survived cancer or women who made it big in their career. I work on surrounding myself with people I can learn from, people who inspire me; people who inspire me to be better.

What do you do to keep moving forward when life gets hard?

By: Edan Gelt, MBA, CMD
Marketing Strategist, Child-life Volunteer, Change Agent
https://www.linkedin.com/in/edan-joy-gelt/

North Shore Dads develop Trainerly Offering Last Minute Online Fitness Deal without Membership

Edan Gelt

Northbrook, IL – Russ Berkun and Leo Akselrud, local dads and residents of Glenview and Northbrook, developed Trainerly (www.trainer.ly) – an online fitness platform to deliver last minute deals for classes at local fitness studios. Users of Trainerly can log on the night before or on their way home from work to find an available class deal near them without committing to a membership at a studio or gym. Unlike popular fitness site ClassPass, no membership is required for Trainerly, classes are available based on need, location, and budget.

Trainerly founders Berkun and Akselrud decided to launch the platform after finding it frustrating to make scheduled class times. Whether they were stuck in traffic, in between meetings, racing home after work or driving kids around town, the partners said they often missed scheduled class times at their local studios and wished there was an app that would offer a fitness class near where they were at.

Trainerly is primarily a listing service for fitness classes – similar to Expedia for airfare or Hotels.com for accommodations. Requiring no monthly membership, Trainerly is designed as a pay-as-you-go platform. Trainerly is great for individuals who have unpredictable schedules, not sure of the type of fitness program they want to belong to long term, or not ready for a commitment.

Edan Gelt

The program was designed as a win-win for the studios, Trainerly, and the users. The fitness studios set their own discounted pricing, Trainerly offers an array of classes on its website for a small percentage of sales and users can choose a class that fits their needs without any long-standing commitment. Currently, there are 40 studios on the Trainerly platform, from boot camp to yoga and boxing to pole dancing. Trainerly expects to sign on more than 100 studios by the end of 2017.

The studio owners like Trainerly because their class prices aren’t devalued like Groupon or ClassPass. Since studios set their own pricing, they can change it based on demand. If the class is more popular, the fee will be higher than a class that has more than 5 spots left.

“There is nothing like it in the Chicago market”, said founding partner, Leo Akselrud. “Sure, there’s ClassPass but you have to pay a monthly membership to try their classes. At Trainerly, you only pay for the classes you use. Some studios offer classes as low as $5”.

The founders worked with local fitness blogger and marketing strategist, Edan Gelt, at Joy of Fitness – www.edanjoygelt.com to help identify the needs of local studios and gyms before launching. “We learned that studios wanted qualified leads and were concerned about devaluing their classes and offending current members. We addressed that in our location and pricing structure when building the platform”, said founding partner Russ Berkun. “We custom created a program to cater to the end users but also benefit the gyms or studios by delivering qualified and valuable leads”, he said.

Subscribe to Trainerly at www.trainer.ly or at Trainerly on Facebook for last-minute classes up to 50% off. Gyms and studios can find out more information about joining Trainerly in the Chicago market by visiting their website or by emailing founder Leo Akselrud at leo@trainer.ly

Source: https://patch.com/illinois/glenview/north-shore-dads-develop-trainerly-online-platform-offering-last-minute-fitness

https://www.dailyherald.com/submitted/20170514/-north-shore-dads-develop-trainerly-an-online-platform-offering-last-minute-fitness-deals—-no-membership-required

“You Are Fat” & Bad Messaging

Before starting my fitness blog (www.edanjoygelt.com) – I was working with a MedSpa on a marketing project. I was hired to drive sales for non-invasive body contouring (I know, totally anti-fitness).

In addition to digital marketing, we decided an oversized postcard to the target market would be the most direct way to get this message out. The owner really wanted the message to be prominent – something to capture attention about lipo-type services the MedSpa offered. She said “Edan gelt, I want you to make the headline “You are Fat” or “Are you Fat?”. I couldn’t.

I had to educate my client about messaging, marketing and branding. It was actually challenging to overcome her insistence of such a crass headline. She wanted something bold, something to capture attention (which bad messaging did) but not in the way it needed to. I was challenged – I could never put my name on such an advertisement.

Edan Gelt

First, fat people don’t really believe or even know they are fat. Second, if they were really “FAT”, non-invasive body contouring probably isn’t the answer. Lastly, I don’t body shame – ever!.

I needed to come up with a clever way to sell body services without being rude, but at the same time, not boring. The campaign wound up being “Hangover?” It fit perfectly since it was over the holidays, a lot of people were likely a bit hungover and were feeling a bit “bloated”.

To further drive home the message of health in the campaign (which I couldn’t help but include), I suggested the client partner with a local gym to offer a 3-month membership with any body-contouring procedure over $1,000. The campaign landed as a win-win, it was well accepted by the client base, generated new leads for the gym and resulted in the double-digit increase for body contouring.

What I really liked about the campaign is that by partnering with the gym, It positioned the MedSpa as a facility that cared about the long term health of the client.