By Stephanie Schwartz, Advertising Manager
February 20, 2013
Starting a business isn’t for everyone. It takes hard work, dedication, and countless hours to perfect the plan. When Alexa Crawford, a business administration major with a concentration in entrepreneurship, was assigned to create a business from the ground up, she wasn’t thinking about the grade she would receive but about the long-term impact her company could create. T.E.A.L. – The Ever After Lady, was born at the beginning of 2013.
When creating her business, Crawford knew that she wanted to bring awareness to ovarian cancer, a disease that she battled when she was 16. The awareness ribbon for ovarian cancer is teal and the acronym is born. The Ever After Lady is an online site for women who are suffering from life threatening illness and serves as a place to share stories and messages of hope and wisdom. Her goal was to create an environment for women who during illness could express vulnerability, beauty and hope, while gaining confidence from others going through similar situation. Every woman wants to live happily ever after and that is exactly what Crawford is trying to ensure by bringing together women to share their stories. T.E.A.L. is a completely free site for women to join and once funding is secured, women will be able to create their own profiles.
Managing a website has been no walk in the park. Crawford wanted to make sure that women, no matter if in a hospital bed receiving treatment or recovering at home, could easily access the site. But actually creating the website has been fun for her to design with intricate details of femininity, elegance and optimism. Right now, the website is at a grassroots level but survivors are adding their stories daily. Survivor Ann Lary, a family friend of Crawford’s, has enjoyed her experience with sharing her story online. “To be able to share or talk with someone that is going through treatments and to encourage them and give them moral support and pray for them is a wonderful experience,” writes Lary. “Every ounce of knowledge I received when I was going through my illness was a wonderful support for me. Just to understand what to expect next. From the beginning of the treatment, during and after, what to eat, how much exercise to do, when you should stay in and not get around a lot of people, how to deal with family, and how to give your husband love and give him thanks for all he has to “deal” with, and the list could go on.”
If you know Crawford, this girl dreams big and those dreams become reality. Future plans for the website include creating an online marketplace for survivors to sell crafts and other goods they have made during treatment as well as a way for survivors to compile their stories and publish “hope journals.” Eventually, she would love to see the site be the home to survival stories of women recovering from different life threatening illnesses and ultimately reach multiple countries. In a few years you could be reading a “Chicken Soup for the Soul” stylebook of complied survivors stories. Crawford says she also would love to see a doctor or nurse become a routine blogger, offering health tips for survivors.
Bringing cancer patients together means so much to Crawford. “Having the realization that other people are going through the exact same thing that you are gives you someone to connect to. The community is about connecting individuals during their personal recoveries through telling their stories,” she said. She noted that sometimes the best way to get over your personal grief is to write it down and by sharing it within the T.E.A.L. community; the support survivor’s feel is incredible.
She notes that she has had such amazing mentors during her time here at High Point University, especially from Ms. Lou Anne Flanders-Stec. She has been a great mentor and guide to Crawford when it comes to all aspects of seeing and pursuing business and opportunity.
Students and families can get involved by logging onto www.theeverafterlady.com. If you know anyone who has been diagnosed with a life threatening illness, share the website information with them and encourage them to share their stories. If you are interested in helping to sponsor the site, Please contact Crawford at firstname.lastname@example.org.