Molly used her breast cancer diagnosis as a call to action to create Consano, an organization that enables patients and families touched by a health issue to share their stories, support medical research and “heal it forward” without the time and money required to start their own foundation.
A hero is defined as one who shows great courage. Without a doubt, my wife, Molly Lindquist, is the most inspiring person I know and exemplifies all the qualities of a hero. When Molly was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 at the age of 32, I never imagined how that experience would motivate her to become a champion for innovative medical research funding. But after enduring surgeries and chemotherapy, she emerged a different woman, beyond the scars and the fear; Molly had a purpose. Like so many other cancer patients, Molly wanted to ‘pay it forward’ and make an impact for other patients who might walk her same path. For Molly, and for so many other patients, supporting medical research to find new and improved treatment options is the most effective way to make things better. Molly wanted to directly support research projects that mattered to her, projects that could help our girls. But much to Molly’s surprise, no simple mechanism existed to enable transparent and directed donations to innovative medical research. So Molly created one, and Consano was born.
Instead of letting this experience darken her world, Molly was invigorated. By creating something positive out of this journey, Molly gave our entire family an outlet that has helped us all to heal. Consano, which means “to heal” in Latin, was created to provide a way for any family who has been touched by illness to find healing through sharing their stories and directly supporting the research that matters to them. Before Consano existed, the only way someone could directly support a specific research project was to donate large sums of money 5 or 6 figure donations. By democratizing this process, Consano enables anyone to have the same direct-ability, transparency, and connection with innovative researchers at more than twenty top academic institutions across the country.
Since founding Consano in 2013, Molly has helped to raise over $1,000,000 to support innovative medical research. Molly has become a national leader in digital health, with features in TIME, Tech Crunch, and Fast Company among others. She blogs about her cancer experience for the Huffington Post and was named a 2014 Knowledge Networks Rising Star by Portland Monthly magazine, a 2014 Orchid Award Winner and a 2015 “40 Under 40” award recipient by the Portland Business Journal. But her most meaningful work hits much closer to home. She spends many hours talking with frightened breast cancer patients who are unsure how to tell their small children about their disease and provides insight into what life after treatment looks like. Although difficult and emotionally draining, Molly answers all of their questions, providing hope when appropriate, and always giving love and support.
After facing a health crisis, many people are inspired to increase awareness for their disease through volunteering and mentoring. While these are important contributions, that wasn’t enough for Molly. She identified a real need for greater transparency and connection between patients and medical research, and then devoted thousands of unpaid hours to create an organization to address this. While Molly’s breast cancer diagnosis is unfortunately common, what she has done with this experience is truly extraordinary. Beyond the money raised and projects supported, her daughters know that mommy is doing everything possible to help keep them healthy in the future.
100% of every donation to medical research on the Consano platform goes directly to the research project or Honor Fund, giving complete transparency and control to the donor. Consano takes no percentage to support operations. In addition, Consano’s Scientific Advisory Board, comprised of physicians, researchers, and patient advocates, vets every project to ensure it is high quality, legitimate, and has the potential to translate into improvements in patient care. This unique screening process sets Consano apart, and allows donors to have confidence that their donation will make a real impact exactly where they choose. A $50,000 Eagle Rare Life Award would fund six months of Consano’s operational expenses, enabling the organization to grow more rapidly and “heal it forward” for more patients and families.
Molly’s breast cancer diagnosis showed our family firsthand that life can change in an instant, that tomorrow is never guaranteed, and that we must spend each day doing what we can to make the world better. As Molly has written, “My cells malfunctioned. Cancer grew. I can’t change that. But what I can do is use my personal cancer experience as a catalyst for change.” It is incredibly inspiring to see Molly’s story of resilience motivating others to take back control of their stories and “heal it forward,” too.