Interview with Tenaciously Teal from Oklahoma City, OK
In today’s interview, we would like to present the Tenaciously Teal, a non-profit organization coming from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. They are a supporting organization for cancer fighters, giving them all the love and care during their treatment.
Choice Solutions Roofing and Exteriors, best roofing company from Oklahoma City, OK is giving the support to all local non-profit organizations to keep up with the excellent work. Involve and contribute to our local community at least by reading this interview and finding out about the great organization we should all be proud of.
To begin with, we would like you to briefly tell us about your organization
Tenaciously Teal is a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading love and empowering cancer fighters through Cancer Care Packs, Gas & Grocery Assistance, and Brave Shave & Empowerment Shoots.
- What do you do exactly?
And what was the reason that encouraged you to start this organization?
Tenaciously Teal grew out of founder Tarah Warren’s fight with Stage IV Ovarian Cancer (Teal is the color designated for Ovarian Cancer Awareness). Tarah was scheduled for sixteen months of chemotherapy and during her treatments, she noticed many cancer fighters who didn’t have adequate support for a cancer battle and, in response, began creating Cancer Care Packs to hand out to individuals who needed to be reminded that people there are people who care about their fight. At first, Tarah would bring 5 to 10 care packs with her on days she received treatment and distribute the goodie bags filled with items cancer fighters need during treatment.
The need Tarah witnessed was continual so she incorporated T. Teal as a nonprofit hours before her 38th chemo infusion. From there T. Teal has grown from simple acts of kindness to a mission reaching across the state of Oklahoma that spreads love and joy to thousands of cancer fighters battling all forms of cancer.
Here are T. Teal’s program areas and what we’ve been able to accomplish with support form our community:
Cancer Care Packs: In 2017, T. Teal has distributed 4,100 + Cancer Care Packs to 15 treatment centers across Oklahoma. In addition, T. Teal mails care packs around the world by request.
Gas & Grocery Cards: In 2017, T. Teal was able to help 101 cancer fighters and their families identified as being in need by giving $10,100 in gas/grocery assistance. Furthermore, through our direct assistance program we were able to help more than 30 Veterans receiving cancer treatment at the OKC Veterans Affairs Hospital.
Brave Shave & Empowerment Shoots: T. Teal provides a concierge style service for women facing hair loss from treatment we call a “Brave Shave”. Brave Shaves are private parties were women are pampered in a private setting and welcomed to invite friends and family to support them In addition, women have the opportunity to schedule Empowerment Shoots were professional make-up, photography, and styling are all provided to help women feel beautiful and strong.
- What motivates you? Describe your mission passion
At Tenaciously Teal, we deal in moments. The moment we hand a Cancer Care Pack to a fighter during treatment and they suddenly feel noticed and loved. The moment at a Brave Shave Party when hair loss isn’t faced by a fighter alone, but instead surrounded by those whom they love the most. An Empowerment Shoot where, for a moment, a cancer fighter feels beautiful and strong, instead of sick. The moment when a social worker hands a fighter a T. Teal gas card and they can afford an upcoming trip to treatment.
However, even as we reach more and more cancer fighters, the epidemic of cancer continues to grow. In Oklahoma alone, the number of new cancer diagnosis equate to more than 50 people every day hearing the words “you have cancer”. The reality is overwhelming, but as long as there are fighters, T. Teal will keep showing up to spread hope and love. We will be a listening ear, a hand to hold, a kind note from the heart, financial help for those who have fallen through the cracks, and a reminder to each fighter that they matter.
One moment may not change the world, but it can change the world for one person since T. Teal was started out of a personal fight with cancer so we know our organization offers tangible support, which motivates us to continue onward and upward and keep making an impact.
- Tell us about your goals
In 2018, T. Teal has set a goal of providing 10,000 moments to inspire hope and provide love, community, and empowerment to cancer fighters and their families. That breaks down to:
8,000 Cancer Care Packs with 8,000 hand written letters
32 Brave Shave Parties and Empowerment Shoots
100 Gas Cards distributed to those in need
150 Board Designated grants requested by hospital social workers
- What was the hardest/toughest moment you had to deal with?
Obstacles you faced when dealing with bureaucracy, permits, funding, etc. Something you would like to point out to anyone who might be starting their own organization.
Running a nonprofit is just like running a business, but as a nonprofit we give our income away. As you would in any business you have to be diligent in every aspect, but it can often be overwhelming. My best advice is to fight off the sense of being overwhelmed by taking it one step at a time. My grandfather used to ask me, ” Do you know how you eat an elephant?”, and the response I successfully learned was “one bite at a time”. When we were facing not only setting up our programming, but also our accounting, marketing, donor tracking, website etc. It was overwhelming at times, but I kept in mind that I have to take it one step at a time. Sometimes when I look back I can’t believe how far T. Teal has come with a lot of hard work and taking things one step at a time. I would tell people looking to start an organization to not feel rushed or overwhelmed by everything they’ll need to set up. Anything worth building takes time and effort, and the best way to do it is one step at a time.
- What was the most fulfilling moment that happened to you?
There have a been a great deal of fulfilling moments since T. Teal’s incorporation in 2014, however, I will never forget receiving this note from a cancer fighter:
” I need to thank someone. Today at Mercy chemotherapy in Oklahoma City, someone brought me a gift. Maybe I was a old man in the corner, but it was wonderful. It meant a lot to me. thank you for your efforts, your prayers, your concerns. I may not be curable, but you help me keep going. Thank you for T.Teal. Thank you for all the wonderful work you do. From an old man in the corner, thank you.”
- What separates you from the rest? Why you?
Tenaciously Teal grew out of seeing a need in the midst of my own fight, so all of our programming is tailored around the specific needs of cancer fighters, Furthermore, many of our regular donors are people who T. Teal touched in someway. I always think it’s neat that we attract donors who we’ve previously helped, because they know the impact T. Teal’s support made in their fight. In addition our overhead is right around 10%, so 90 cents of every dollar given to T. Teal goes directly to spreading love and hope to cancer fighters.
- Do you have any upcoming events in the forthcoming months?
Tenaciously Teal’s 3rd annual Care Packs and Cocktails event is April 13th, 2018, and will feature an empowering fashion show of cancer survivors!
- What is it that you love most about what you do?
I believe our greatest call in life is to “love one another” and show kindness and love to those around us. I know T. Teal is putting a great deal of love and kindness out into this world, which not only makes me happy it is very fulfilling!! I also love getting to connect with cancer fighters and their families and hear their stories and identifying how T. Teal can help!
- What is the biggest challenge you’re faced with today?
The epidemic of cancer is devastating. The American Cancer Society (2017), estimates 1.6 million NEW cases of cancer in the U.S. in 2017. Every day we are contacted about a new cancer diagnosis and we hear the stories of children, fathers, mothers, and grandparents facing a disease that causes a lot of suffering. At T. Teal we are trying to do our part to love those around us and be a bright light in a journey that brings with it a lot of darkness.
Someday I’d like to be able to give a care pack to each Oklahoman diagnosed with cancer, but right now we aren’t even touching new cancer diagnosis’s in our state. In order to do that we need the support of our community and help with collect care pack items including; fuzzy socks, chapstick, travel size lotion and hand sanitizer, individually wrapped green tea, word finds, 12 oz Gatorade, journals, pocket size Kleenex, and pens.
Contact: How can people reach out to you?
Your organization’s name, phone, address, e-mail and links to your website and social media
Tenaciously Teal, Inc. 720 W. Wilshire Ste 101 K OKC, OK 73116
Instagram and Twitter: tteal_inc