Social Impact Heroes: Why & How Lorraine Tallman of Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels Is Helping To Change…

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Social Impact Heroes: Why & How Lorraine Tallman of Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels Is Helping To Change Our World

Treat everyone like your top donor. You never know what gift someone is capable of. Whoever is believing in your mission deserves to be thanked and to feel like they are making a difference no matter the dollar amount.

As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lorraine Tallman.

Lorraine Tallman is the driving force behind Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels. Her experience in the pediatric cancer world has sparked her lifelong devotion to advocacy and support for children and their families. She is committed to fulfilling her daughter, Amanda’s, wish to provide dignity and comfort to all children battling life-threatening diseases.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I was first brought to world of childhood cancer through my daughter’s initial diagnoses in 2009. At age 9 my daughter Amanda was diagnosed with Leukemia. She battled for three long years, then as a side-effect of her treatment, she developed a secondary cancer. At the end of her journey, Amanda made me promise that I would help every child just like her. To honor her wish, I created an adaptive apparel line, called Comfycozy’s for Chemo, that brings comfort and dignity while receiving treatment in the hospital.

Now, our organization, Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels, provides the apparel line, free counseling, events, and financial aid to families with a warrior battling cancer. Thousands of children have felt the impact of Amanda’s legacy through our other support services. Our hope is that our programs will bridge the gaps in care and provide the families with additional support during the most challenging times in their lives.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?

One person that truly encompasses a warrior, is Trinity. This young adult battled cancer several times as a child, and during one of her inpatients stays, she received a Comfycozy. Trinity found immense support and comfort when wearing her Comfycozy’s for Chemo. We were able to be there for her throughout her journey with our different programs. Amanda Hope is all about helping with the here and now struggles of pediatric cancer. Today, Trinity is in college and just completed her internship for our organization to pay it forward for child like her. She is a huge inspiration to all of us at Amanda Hope!

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

At Amanda Hope we provide our warriors with activities to take their mind of their treatment! They vary from month to month, but typically include a craft. One activity we did was decorating capes and this activity included puffy paint. We truly learned our lesson that puffy paint takes quite a while to dry and got everywhere in the process! These days when crafting we stick to crayons, colored pencils and markers!

Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?

Our organization focuses on providing our cancer fighting warriors with dignity and comfort. One program that truly helps us achieve that is our Comfort and Care Counseling. We want our lasting impact to be the mental wellness of our families. We know that battling cancer as a family can be extremely challenging. We hope that by providing counseling to the entire family, we can keep more families together and help our warriors to have a healthier mental outlook on life.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

Mack is a warrior who has received support through many of our services at Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels. He was originally diagnosed in 2021 with ALL, and the cancer diagnosis was devastating. When Mack had his central line placed, we sent him a Comfycozy and let his family know that we were here if they needed any additional support. His family was overwhelmed with gratitude and kept saying how personal it felt when our team reached out. We have continued to stay in contact with Mack’s family throughout his journey and will continue to for as long as they need our support. The family is always saying how thankful they are for our events, programs, and various connections. We hope to provide this ‘light’ for not only Mack’s family, but every family we can.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

  1. Pediatric cancer is the number one killer of children in America by disease. Funding is needed for research to help create better medicine.
  2. Data is another problem we see in the day to day lives of our warriors. It is something we have noticed in our patients records. When our children pass away often it is recorded as a death by a side effect that cancer caused. This affects data that is recorded and shared with the world.
  3. Get involved with us or another local organization! Every person can make an impact.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

To me, leadership is defined by leading through example! My style of leadership is all about showing my passion and commitment to our cause. If I am leading with this mindset, it is my belief my team is always watching and following in suit. Being a mission focused leader helps your team to know what is next and where you are headed.

I would love to share about my first intern at Amanda Hope, Jessie Swygert. When she started in 2015, Jessie was recent college graduate who was looking to work for a nonprofit organization. From starting as an intern to now being the Director of Operations, Jessie has grown tremendously as a leader while moving up the organization. Jessie has proven to be an amazing asset to the Amanda Hope team and her passion for our warriors is very evident.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. It is challenging but not impossible to create change.
    In the nonprofit world, passion is never an issue when completing the day-to-day tasks. However, change in the world of healthcare is a long process as there are often many departments involved. Passion always wins, never give up if something is important to you.
  2. Build a solid foundation for your organization. Small organizations will need a strong set of processes. If you can implement good foundations and processes right of the bat your organization will benefit from it immensely.
  3. Build quality relationships with those that believe in you. You truly never know who is in the room! Foster and nurture relationships with those who believe in your mission.
  4. Take advantage of every opportunity. Attend every networking session. During my first year of starting my nonprofit, I attended every event that would let me through the door. It helped me make a lot of the lasting connections I have to this day.
  5. Treat everyone like your top donor. You never know what gift someone is capable of. Whoever is believing in your mission deserves to be thanked and to feel like they are making a difference no matter the dollar amount.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would want to inspire the world to know the importance of transition of care. After a child battling cancer or another life-threatening illness turns 18, the children’s hospital continues to care for them. I believe that there needs to be a transition to an adult facility while still receiving the same level of care. I am currently working on spreading awareness of this issue with local hospitals and creating a solution for our childhood cancer warriors.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

This bible verse is the backbone of how this organization came to be. It was and still is one of Lorraine and Amanda’s favorite verses. It inspired them during Amanda’s battle with cancer to trust in the Lord’s plans. Today, it is sewn onto the Comfycozy’s for Chemo apparel to remind those who are wearing it that there is hope in the future.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I would like to have lunch with Criss Angel. His son fought cancer, and he truly understands the need for change. I would love to talk with him about his personal experience. I think he would have a lot of insight and thoughts to make a difference in the world of pediatric cancer care while in treatment and after.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

@ahrangels and @comfycozy4chemo

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

Social Impact Heroes: Why & How Lorraine Tallman of Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels Is Helping To Change… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.