Rally Cry: An Origin Story

Come together and do something great.

My name is Patti Rogers and I’m the founder and CEO of Rallyhood.

In 2008, I endured the unexpected challenge and blessing of breast cancer. The challenges are too many and too unglamorous to write about here, but the blessings were also many and are much more uplifting to think about.

The biggest blessing was learning to let love in. The song goes, “All you need is love.” But the bugger of it is, most of us don’t know how to let it in when you need it most. It is difficult to ask for help and difficult to accept it when it comes. It was certainly that way for me and my husband. We didn’t want to bother anyone. We didn’t want to burden them with the blasted inconveniences of cancer; the fear it unveils for all of us. After all, fragility and mortality are just not the things that make for peppy coffee talk. “Hey, good coffee. What happened to your eyebrows?”

To be honest, I experienced a certain shame around the whole thing. Okay, I know it sound ridiculous, but it’s true. You’re cruising through middle-life with happiness, health and smiles all around. And then “wah wah” cancer comes crashing in, uninvited, unwelcome, un-everything. Needle on the record. Pen in the fan. Wall to the speeding car. I’m sure there are many other survivors who can relate to the shocked feeling of being tagged, “you’re it.” Now what?

Well the “what” that arrived for me was pure inspiration. I witnessed a swell of selflessness from friends, family and our community. They rallied around me, my kids and my family with a genuineness of human spirit that made me want to be a better me. They didn’t do it because they were going to get their name on a plaque. It was just honest, bread-and-butter giving that felt like a scene from “It’s a Wonderful Life.” They swarmed into our living room to offer love in the form of casseroles, emails and text messages, and all of it carried us through.

I promise you that cancer did not change my life for the better, but kindness of our community did.

I cannot ever repay the swarm of people that taught us the power of showing up. And I have a lifetime of gratitude for all of them, especially for the inner circle who busted their butts (skipping work, workouts, fancy get-a-ways and full nights of sleep) to organize the help-patrol. Turns out, even a love mission needs a project manager. They would never have admitted it to me, but it was a lot work. They explored the tools available at the time to try to share a food delivery calendar and send out updates. But unfortunately, from a technology standpoint, it was one depressing, frustrating, awkward and inefficient experience.

So as my health was restored and perspective rolled in, I sat up one day, lightning bolt to the brain, with a new purpose in life: to create an easy way for groups (friends, family and community members) to come together and do something good. To create an easy way to get involved, divvy-up tasks, stay informed and share the love.

The idea of Rallyhood was born.

Tags: rallyhood tech