Hey guys. Rachel here from the customer experience team. If you know anything about Groove Life, you probably figured out that we care a lot about people. Our heart is to give people the gear they need to be able to live life to the fullest!
Sometimes, that looks a little different than giving a rock climber a silicone ring to protect his or her finger. You know we are ALL about adventure, but this blog post is dedicated to sharing my personal connection with a little 4-year-old girl named Rejoice. For a tiny person, she had a huge impact on our team at Groove Life.
As the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society hosts the Man & Woman of the Year Award to raise funds and awareness, we are doing our part to join the cause as well. We honor Rejoice today by sharing her story and providing a limited edition Leukemia Groove Ring for those who want to support those who are living with leukemia or other blood-related cancers.
Rejoice: her story and legacy
Leukemia is a devastating disease that currently impacts hundreds of thousands of people. Blood cancer, in general, has an approximate diagnosis rate of one person every three minutes, so it is not surprising that you probably know one or more people that have been diagnosed by at least one of these types of blood cancer.
When I first came to Groove as a customer service rep in August of 2018, I met and developed a relationship with one of our remote reps, Jennifer, who lives in the Philippines. We have the brilliant Jennifer and our other amazing customer service reps to thank for the dedicated attention we can show to each of our customers.
Within days of being hired, I started to hear the constant conversations, prayers, updates, encouragements, etc that were spoken to and for Jennifer and her family. Jennifer’s middle daughter, Rejoice, had a diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). She was diagnosed not long after turning 2 years old in May of 2017.
Jennifer and Rejoice attempted to visit the United States for treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. Their first attempt at a visa was denied almost immediately, but that didn’t stop Groove from acting. Our COO appealed to a Scott DesJarlais, who represents Tennessee's 4th congressional district, to help in the second round of visa approval for Jennifer and Rejoice. In the hours leading up to their second attempt, all of Groove’s employees came to the customer service room and held hands as they lifted up prayers to see the visas get approval. I remember standing in the small hallway of my home with tears of joy and triumph as a coworker and I hung up. She’d called with the exciting news that they were to come to the US and the visa approval had passed with no trouble whatsoever.
I had the privilege of meeting this little family several times during their time in the US. Two other Groove employees and I felt called to go to Memphis and spend time with the family and to pray with them. We drove there and back in a single night. The next time I saw them, I drove them from Groove Life headquarters back to St. Jude’s. Tragically, the third time was at little Rejoice’s funeral. She went home on the morning of February 26th, 2019. I’d seen many things in my life, but never had I witnessed a family that had lost a child… and a 4-year-old at that.
The details of Leukemia and Lymphoma and why they are concerning.
Leukemia, in all its forms, is the most common type of cancer found in children and makes up for 25.8% of all cancer diagnoses in patients under 20. Leukemia is found to originate in the bone marrow where new blood cells are made. This is one of the few types of cancer that does not have stages because the very blood cells are cancerous. Thus, the cancer exists throughout the entire body.
White blood cells are typically the affected cells. Essentially, the white blood cells grow faster than normal and crowd the other blood cells. This crowding leads to the release of newly forming blood cells, called blasts, that are only supposed to be found in the marrow until they’ve matured. Oftentimes, this type of cancer will be passed off as the flu or common cold, and it is not until it persists that further testing is done. Tests can reveal these blasts to be found in a blood sample, which is indicative of leukemia.
Lymphoma is another common form of blood cancer, though it is found in a type of white blood cells called lymphocytes. These lymphocytes are integral in the immune system, as they are what form our lymph nodes. Our lymph nodes are responsible for filtering cell waste and harmful bacteria. There are approximately 874,730 people living with, or in remission from, one of the possible forms of lymphoma.
The two main types of lymphoma are Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkins, and the difference comes down to the presence or absence of an abnormal cell. The presence of this abnormal cell, named the Reed-Sternberg cell, is diagnosed as Hodgkin’s. Lack of the Reed-Sternberg cell is Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Diagnosis typically occurs when a lymph node is found to be swollen or hard and is persistent in that state.
What We’re Doing About It
Part of our threefold mission at Groove Life is to serve people and reflect God. While we did all we could to serve little Rejoice and her family during her time here on earth, we didn’t want to stop there. The Groove Life team and I saw the difficulty this family faced as they walked through Leukemia and we want to do all we can to support those who even now are struggling in the same way.
What I have to say about this family is solely from my appreciation to work for a company with a heart as big as Groove’s; this story has nothing to do with selling rings. In fact, all proceeds of our limited edition ring will be donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Our Groove Rings are created out of non-allergenic silicone with a unique breathable design that is more comfortable than any other ring on the market. We created a special custom design in support of blood cancer patients. The limited edition ring is available in two different styles. The first option is our original ring in solid black, and the second option is our thin style ring in a deep stone grey. Both styles feature the custom design in red.
The rings will be available on our website for the duration of the 10-week Man & Woman of the Year Award fundraiser.
We hope you will join us in supporting victims of Leukemia through financial donations and in prayer.