The True Power Of Your Social Network

On March 27th, 2011, we learned the unthinkable: our 2 1/2 year old granddaughter, Emma Zinberg, had cancer.

Within 24 hours, she was a patient at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. While we had received an initial diagnosis of neuroblastoma at the hospital that found her tumor, the team of oncologists and surgeons at MSKCC correctly diagnosed Emma with pancreatoblastoma, an extremely rare form of pediatric cancer.  There are less than 5 diagnosed cases a year in the United States.

On April 1st she underwent a successful 8-hour surgery, followed immediately by chemotherapy.  After several rounds of treatment, she was declared cancer free on May 25th 2011.  Emma is cancer free because of the extraordinary team of doctors, nurses and specialists at MSKCC who work tirelessly to provide the best care possible to all of their pediatric patients.

Our family wanted to do some kind of fundraiser for MSKCC.  My daughter Alexis (Emma’s mother) and her husband Andrew decided to invite our family and friends to join them for a charity event called, Kids Walk for Kids with Cancer because 100% of the funds received go to support Memorial Sloan Kettering Pediatric Cancer Research.

This is where the social media story begins: Kids Walk for Kids with Cancer uses, a website that is easy to customize for fundraising events.  You can visit it at With this excellent online fundraising tool in place (total set up time under an hour), our first outreach was to post the link on everyone’s individual Facebook pages.  I was fascinated that the wall posts did not received many comments or likes, but the results were instant – people started making donations.

Next we sent out a few emails to family and friends, then to some business associates as well.  A couple of tweets later and, within a week we had raised over $25,000 that will go directly to MSKCC.

When went live on March 4th, we had no idea what to expect.  Would we raise a few thousand dollars, would our family and close friends come walk with us?  Now, it is clear that even people we don’t know are helping us raise money so that MSKCC can continue their lifesaving work. I am in awe of the true power of our collective social networking tools.  And now, I want you to be in awe of the power of yours.

At 2 ½, when Emma was diagnosed, she knew something was wrong, but could not fully understand the problem.  Alexis told her that she had “yuckies” in her tummy and that the doctors were going to make them go “bye bye.”  Since then, “Bye Bye Yuckies!” has been both our cheer and our prayer.

Please support Team Bye Bye Yuckies! by making a donation or come join us as we walk for Kids with Cancer on Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 1:30pm in Central Park at Mineral Springs. As you know, 100% of the funds received will support Memorial Sloan Kettering Pediatric Cancer Research.

And, if you can, please post a link to on your FB page or tweet it out.  We are asking you to use the power of your social networks so that more families like ours have a chance to say, “Bye Bye Yuckies!”

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit



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