Highland Park’s JESSICA MERAR is on a mission to spread awareness for pediatric cancer and raise funds to support local children battling cancer. As a Certified Child Life Specialist, Merar had been on the front lines of care at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital for 14 years. She saw the need for Dragonfly, an organization that supports pediatric cancer patients and families, to have a physical presence in the Chicagoland area. As the director of programs for The Dragonfly Foundation Chicago, Merar collaborates with social workers, child life specialists, and those who work directly with oncology patients in six local children’s hospitals. From sending gas cards to assist with the costs of traveling for treatment to hosting events for families to connect, Dragonfly aims to offer support when needed most—during diagnosis, throughout treatment, and beyond. Here is how this passionate advocate stays on-trend.
IN HER EARBUDS
“My 5-year-old daughter recently discovered Tones and I and we’re loving her song ‘Cloudy Day’… her uplifting lyrics of ‘My mama always said look up into the sky, find the sun on a cloudy day’ is a perfect reminder to search for silver linings in any situation. Set to a great beat, it’s a perfect song that the whole family can enjoy.”
ON HER NIGHTSTAND
“If only I could find time to read! Between keeping up with emails and work functions, activities with my girls, and family obligations, I am rarely sitting down to a book. However, I subscribe to theSkimm and read their daily digest in the quest to keep up with current events happening around the world. In my inbox, it offers a quick summary of daily happenings and helps me feel more in touch.”
ON HER MOBILE
“I find it incredibly empowering to follow other nonprofits in the same space on social media platforms … those that are making a difference in various ways, all with the same intent of supporting patients and families on their pediatric cancer journey … it is thrilling and impactful to work together for the betterment of the community. To quote Helen Keller, ‘Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.’”
For more information, to donate, host a gift card drive, or adopt a family during the holiday season, visit dragonfly.org/chicago.