For the third year in a row, we are excited to partner with Framingham-based WhyNotDevin Foundation to End DIPG for the 2020 holiday season. A portion of the proceeds of all House Lager sold throughout the months of November and December will be donated to the organization.
We feel that it is as important as ever to continue supporting the community and we are continuously inspired by the work WhyNotDevin has been doing, even during such a challenging year.
We recently sat down with Christine Suau, founder of WND to learn more about the how things are going and her new venture, Meant To Bee Me:
Tell us a little about Devin and why you founded this organization.
Devin was my youngest of four boys. He was a funny, charismatic, happy child that loved to make everyone laugh.
At six years old he was diagnosed with a rare, terminal brain tumor called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) and given just 8 months to 2 years to live. After travelling the world trying to find a cure and making as many memories as we could, Devin lost his battle. Just eight months and three weeks post diagnosis, one week before his seventh birthday.
During our fight, we had such incredible support, emotionally and financially. There is no funding to fight this disease. I wanted to have an organization to help families going through the same fight that my family did.
What does the name Why Not Devin mean?
When Devin was diagnosed we were told no child had ever beat DIPG. I immediately had the mindset that somebody had to be first. Why not Devin? #whynotdevin was born.
Know you just recently became a 501c3 – that’s exciting news! Can you share a little more information about what making that designation means for Why Not Devin?
We are so excited for this official status. It’s been a long process since we started it two years ago. Now it means that we have the ability to have increased fundraising, which obviously means being able to help more families. We can be included in company matching programs, online fundraisers (Amazon, Facebook, etc), and personal donations can be written off with our tax ID. It also means that we can officially start giving out grants to families. WhyNotDevin gives grants to families to help offset that many financial burdens that accompany this diagnosis. We have also included the ability to help one local family with a child fighting pediatric cancer annually. I am so excited to be able to take WhyNotDevin to the next level.
Know COVID has been challenging for everyone – in what ways has it affected your work?
Fundraising has become more difficult. Obviously, so many people are facing economic hardships so the ability to donate is lower on the list. Prior to COVID, there were small start up biotechs that were looking to make their mark in the pediatric brain cancer sector. Unfortunately many of those companies have lost their grants and funding because of the pandemic. It has also made the already devastating fight for so many families, harder. I can’t imagine having to go through what we did without our family, friends and community constantly present during our hardest days.
Tell us about Meant to Bee ME – what is the story behind the brand?
Meanttobeeme.com is my company that I started on my birthday last year. It is an online website that includes a blog of my journey, my speaking engagements, and inspirational merchandise. I think Devin shows himself as a bee, a constant reminder of how sweet he is but how much his loss stings. Meant to Bee ME is a way that I hope to be able to take care of my three surviving sons as a single mom. WhyNotDevin is my nonprofit in memory of Devin, that helps other families with a child with DIPG and advocates to raise awareness for a disease that many have never heard of.
How does it tie to WhyNotDevin?
I love telling Devin’s story, it helps keep his spirit alive. I also hope that through telling my stories, I can help someone else believe that whatever is that they are going through they can overcome. A portion of the proceeds from Meant to Bee ME is donated to the WhyNotDevin Foundation to End DIPG. Both organizations are my heart and soul, a way to do as much as I can for my four boys, and myself.
Where can we find merch?
WhyNotDevin merchandise will be available online in a few weeks. We have been working on a website and online store. Meant to Bee ME merchandise is available at www.meanttobeeme.com