Using Her Voice

The Truth 365 volunteer Miranda Mead speaks up for childhood cancer.

Miranda Mead is determined to raise awareness about childhood cancer and here’s why—it was estimated by the American Cancer Society in 2014 that 15,780 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed and 1,960 deaths from cancer will occur among children and teens.

A senior at Wayzata High School this fall, Miranda was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer that predominantly affects children and teenagers, when she was a sophomore. Instead of letting the diagnosis bring her down, she maintained a positive attitude and this led to her involvement with The Truth 365, a campaign using social media to give children fighting cancer a voice.

“The Truth 365 started five years ago.

It came about because childhood cancer is a much bigger problem than people realize,” says founder Mike Gillette. “There are thousands of little tiny foundations around the world who have the same mission, but have not been working together. The goal of The Truth 365 is to bring them together…and it allows us to have a more powerful voice.”

Gillette was given Mead’s name as a potential advocate for the cause through a Minneapolis fundraising event in March 2016. Chatting with her over the phone, Gillette was amazed by her spunk and determination. “Here’s a person who was just recently diagnosed with cancer,” Gillette says. “And already she's talking about how she wanted to take her personal setback and help others.”

And help others she did; Through more than 70 photo shoots and public service announcements combined, she sought to spread the message about childhood cancer.

“Childhood cancer receives only four percent of the National Cancer Institute’s budget,” Miranda says. “I've spoken on Wall Street and on the nation's capital to help raise awareness about childhood cancer and I also do photo shoots just showing the brutality of childhood cancer.” She visited Washington D.C. in May for The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nation-wide program that recognizes outstanding youth volunteers for their work.

Gillette adds that efforts like The Truth 365, based in Washington D.C., have made an impact through Facebook and other social media outlets. Seeking more funding for childhood cancer research, their efforts have captured the attention of Congress and the President regarding the seriousness of the disease. “Childhood cancer is the number one disease killer of children in the United States,” Gillette says.

The Truth 365 founder also says their public service ads are a little more edgy, hoping to capture people’s attention in a powerful way. So when The Truth 365 came to Minneapolis to work with Miranda, they wanted a shoot to capture her unique personality. “We went to the ruins in Minneapolis,” says Gillette. “She's standing on top of this big wall that's falling down and we took these very dramatic photos of her…and here she was just out of the hospital, and she was climbing these treacherous walls just as if she was a stunt woman.”

Working with The Truth 365 was “absolutely fantastic,” Miranda says.

“I was receiving both chemotherapy and radiation therapy at the time so I was at my lowest point, and it gave me an outlet to focus on rather than on how awful I was feeling. It made me feel like I had
a purpose.”

In August 2016, nine-and-a-half months after her diagnosis, scans showed she was cancer-free. Though Miranda will continue to receive routine check-ups to ensure clear scans, cancer is not out of her life forever. She plans to remain an advocate for other children facing the disease.  

“Miranda is somebody we know who will be fighting alongside newly diagnosed children forever,” Gillette says. “And we are very grateful for that.”