Kenna Marriott knows how catastrophic illness and death of a loved one dramatically affect someone’s life. When her daughter and closest friend, Jeannine, passed away after seven and a half years battling cancer, Marriott’s life was altered.
Grieving propelled her to make major changes. Marriott closed her successful Organization Development Consulting firm in Pennsylvania, and moved to Florida. Although trying to adapt, she found herself deep in grief and reflecting on the precious gift she had been given…forty-seven years with Jeannine. Emotionally buffeted, she journaled over 2,000 pages of writing about what she and her daughter had gone through together. Only her writing kept her daughter’s memory close to her. She struggled with how to make sense of the loss of her child. And then, something strange happened.
The Impact of the Book
With every keystroke, Marriott felt her Jeannine beside her and that they had been given a purpose, a calling.to write the lessons, learnings and insights about what they had been through and to share it with others who had cancer or a life-threatening illness, especially their families and friends. The book was born and began getting recognition and media attention and then winning national and international awards. These confirmed for Marriott that the mission had been given to her by someone much more powerful than she was.
Marriott’s personal journey changed again, with radio, television, and speaking engagements, becoming a highly sought after speaker. While the subject of her book may have sounded like a sad topic, her speeches were anything but!
“We cannot control how we react to circumstances beyond our control such as illness or even death, but we can control how we deal with them.” she said. Her talks were full of inspiration, hope, coping skills for helping an ill loved one and learning how to lift oneself out of the despair and take charge of what is happening. Writing and speaking had always been a gift for Marriott…and she still feels Jeannine beside her.
Blog - Livewithcancer.info
In deepening ways to reach people, Marriott developed a blog, livewithcancer.info, initially comprised of educational articles about cancer and life-threatening illness, and now also featuring inspirational, thought provoking blog posts about life in general. She also writes about other issues that she is championing, such as NAMI and Dawn Center.
Support Groups for Families and Friends
The next step in Marriott’s journey was to organize support groups for friends and family of patients with life-threatening diseases, recognizing that most areas don’t have this type of support group, while there are numerous groups for patients themselves. Marriott knew from experience that families and friends need their own champion.