As we approach the Thanksgiving season I wanted to share a story that embraces the theme of giving thanks. I believe that one of the most effective ways to reach people and make an impact is to share real life stories.

Brand marketers who are looking to reach consumers would be smart to associate themselves with this type of authentic content. The stories of struggle and triumph that test our character and life view are the kind that lift the human spirit. I recently discovered such a story and I would like to share it with you today. I am happy to report that Everyday Health also discovered it and it is now part of their marketing and sales effort for this November and December.

Ten years ago, Marybeth Maida, an acclaimed journalist and documentary filmmaker, was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer. While her chances for survival were good, the treatments she had to endure to regain her health were grueling, with literally no information available in books or online to help her cope, survive and thrive. Marybeth made a pack with herself that if she survived she would share what she learned with other women suffering with cancer and the devastating effects of chemotherapy.

This act of determination and selflessness resulted in a book, which celebrates its five year anniversary this month -- at the same time that Marybeth celebrates being cancer free for ten years. She has gone on to raise hundreds thousands of dollars to help support people dealing with this diagnosis.

Debbie Kiederer (a strategic business partner of mine) is an entrepreneur and former cosmetics executive who has faced cancer from the perspective of the caregiver, providing help and support to help those she loved overcome the impact of this devastating illness but finding sparse details of how she could help them succeed.

Debbie and Marybeth worked together at Estee Lauder, and in 2009 they joined forces to improve the lives of those facing cancer. They secured interviews from global experts in beauty, nutrition, skin care, oncology, integrative medicines and psychology and wrote Beauty Pearls for Chemo Girls, the first ever go-to guide (with a companion Web site) that helps women feel and look their best during one of life’s most challenging journeys.

Beauty Pearls for Chemo Girls delivers a unique, integrated, solutions-based approach to help women recapture the inner beauty, confidence and control often lost during cancer treatment. I found the story to extend beyond women with breast cancer to all of us who at some point have to deal with life’ struggles and with difficult choices.

I shared the story of Beauty Pearls for Chemo Girls with longtime friend and colleague Clare Martorana who recently joined Everyday Health as EVP and GM, Consumer Health and Wellness. Clare is also an advisor to the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation and former COO of

When Everyday Health executives met Marybeth and Debbie they embraced their story and now they are planning to feature it on their site. Everyday Health has created an innovative sponsorship opportunity that ties into the book, which includes social media extensions, mobile and personal appearances by Debbie and by Marybeth.

As a footnote, on Sunday, November 8, Amazon selected Beauty Pearls for Chemo Girls as an Amazon Editor's Favorite Book of 2014. I highly recommend this book to you and I applaud Everyday Health for their support of it.

Dan Hodges is CEO and Founder, Consumers in Motion LLC. He can be reached at

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