I recently looked up the meaning of the phrase “the world is your oyster.” I found myself using it in a conversation and wondered how explaining the idea of “anything is possible” got wrapped up into the world of sea creatures.

Rumor has it that this phrase comes from a Shakespeare play – however the original intent involved strife and a sword as well. The playwright wanted to suggest life is like the struggle involved when prying open an oyster (with a sword), but something great (like food or a precious pearl) can await you once you do.

I’m not an oyster eater so I’ll take his word for it… but I appreciate the metaphor of what he was trying to say. Because rarely do good things of life come without any type of struggle, change and a little pain. That is why my decision to step down as Fight CRC’s Director of Communications has not been an easy one.


Five Years of “Wow, Holy Cow.”

Five years ago, I stepped into the job of my dreams. I became Fight Colorectal Cancer’s first Director of Communications. It felt special and serendipitous – the same year I graduated from college with a degree in public relations (and the dream of working for a cancer nonprofit) was the same year this amazing organization was founded. It all lined up a few years later when I joined the team.

I pinched myself the day Anjee offered me the job, as I’ve done routinely throughout the past five years. In fact, I’m still pinching myself at the wonder of this team and what we do (did you see our 2018 March Impact Report!?) I couldn’t be more proud.

Our communications team winning a Prism award for the “This is Crap” campaign!

I came in as an “ambassador,” although we didn’t call ourselves that quite yet. But I met this team during the 2012 photoshoot for a new awareness campaign about to launch called One Million Strong. I volunteered to put a “face” to this disease and share my story. Little did I know that the photo shoot would connect my skills and passions with what the organization needed at that moment. I was asked to join the staff and help communications efforts grow.

The first OMS photo shoot in Kansas City

Like a perfectly-sized leather baseball glove, I stepped into the role and got in the game. And for the past five years, I’ve been out in the field either at bat, running the bases or catching fly balls. Co-workers have become my trusted (and award-winning!) team. Advocates have become family – a support system I never knew I needed until their arms were around me and my t-shirt was soaking up our shared tears. We’ve done a lot for colorectal cancer awareness, research, advocacy and education together – and there’s more to be done!

Only because Fight CRC is a family and a tight-knit team does my transition away from this role bring about sadness, yet at the same time belonging and peace. My role and position are about to change, but I’m still very much a part of our team.

Winds of Change

I have a feeling there’s at least a million people out there who can understand the complicated, unpredictable journey of cancer survivorship and the gusty winds of change it likes to bring.

Last fall, I stopped to analyze my life and realized I needed to rest. After a full five years on the job, my body, mind and heart were telling me to slow down. To spend the summer with my 7-year-old daughter and to pause and reflect. I think we call this mindfulness.

At one point in my survivorship, I would have never accepted the impulse to leave this position, take a break or make a change. Strength meant never surrender, never slow down. But over the years, I’ve learned another way. And it says that sometimes to be strong, you’ve got to be weak. You’ve got to admit you’re tired and disclose that you need a break. You’ve got to bench yourself and create a spot in the field so a new, talented player can step in. There’s more games ahead, and more ball to be played.

Oyster time

So, I’m currently transitioning out of the Fight CRC Communications Director role. I plan to continue working alongside the staff on several projects and I am forever an advocate. We’ve hired a great new Director of Communications who I have no doubt will help us keep expanding our reach and awareness even more! Thanks to all of YOU who want to get involved, this organization continues to GROW!

I don’t take lightly this opportunity to serve you as part of the Fight CRC team, and I’m grateful for your love and support. Being a part of Fight CRC has forever changed who I am in the best of ways. As a storyteller, it’s been a high honor to hear and tell so many of your stories. As a survivor, your courage has inspired me to keep telling mine. I’m trusting that as I crack into this difficult oyster shell of change, great and wondrous things lie ahead.

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11 comments on “Oysters, Baseball and Stepping Down”

  1. 1
    Jen Bracey on April 26, 2018

    Thank you for your service and advocacy for all of this…..so appreciated. Best of luck in new role and in focusing on you!

  2. 2
    Gissoo Decotiis on April 26, 2018

    Congratulations Danielle- it has been a pleasure working with you over the years. You are an inspiration and a joy to be around. I look forward to more wonderful things from you no matter where your endeavors take you. Best of luck always

  3. 3
    Evelyn B on April 25, 2018

    Danielle, I am a big fan of you! You will do great in whatever you choose to do. We love ya!

  4. 4
    curt pesmen on April 25, 2018

    Congrats, Danielle – and Thank You for soooo many pearls of (media) wisdom created and shared!

  5. 5
    Brian Davis on April 24, 2018

    Congratulations Danielle! Best of luck with this exciting new step.

  6. 6
    Linda Dawe on April 23, 2018

    This made my eyes water uncontrollably while I was reading it. You, my dear precious friend, are adored and admired. FightCRC has been lucky to have you and I’m sure you’ll be missed tremendously. Thank you for helping me during my ambassadorship year. Best wishes on your new journey!!!

  7. 7
    Wanda Addy on April 23, 2018

    Wishing you a wonderful time of mindfulness and Mae snuggles. Thank you for all of your amazing work at Fight CRC.

  8. 8
    Jaimie on April 23, 2018

    Danielle, it has been so amazing to hear and follow your story. To think, it was almost 10 years ago we met as strangers and 4 days later we left as life long friends. You are amazing, good for you to step back and reflect. Your story and willingness to make this “oyster time” really hits home. I truly hope I can run into you again sometime soon, but thrilled that i can follow you through social media. Best of luck.

  9. 9
    Tracy on April 23, 2018

    Beautiful and positive story and outcome

  10. 10
    Danielle Burgess on April 23, 2018

    Thank you Mary so much, means a lot!

  11. 11
    Mary Salvi on April 23, 2018

    Fabulous story, wonderfully written!

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