What #EmmeSmiles is All About

You would think that a guy who gets paid to tell stories and market things would be better at telling the story of his own family. Truth is when you are in the middle of something its much harder to do the story justice and make it succinct. You want to include every detail because you are so invested in every piece of it. Heck this intro paragraph is going on too long already.

With that said I have been struggling with how to update the site about a life changing event. Someone is doing something for Emily and our family that is hard to put into words. So instead of agonizing about how to tell you about it, I’m going to link out to places where others have done a better job than I ever could. Without further ado, I present you the #emmesmiles story:

Press Release – Media Kit – General Story

Mark Light is the co-founder of The Pancreatitis Foundation. When he originally told me about his crazy idea to ride his bicycle across the country, and raise money for Emme’s medical expenses while doing it, we both thought there was a cool story to share. But not until Mark enlisted the help of Jack Klemeyer and Elaine Whitesides did it really take shape. Click the links below to download a Word doc to read and/or share with media:

#EmmeSmiles Press Release

Coast to Coast Ride Article (This was more about Mark for a local paper in his area)

#EmmeSmiles Ride Fact Sheet

Media Coverage – Government Support

We have been lucky to have so much media coverage so far. It all got started down in Florida, thanks to my uncle Dave Rivard. Even though he lives in a town of only 5,000 people it just so happens to be a stopping point on Mark’s cross country journey. What are the odds of that? This prompted Dave to talk up the ride, and Emme’s medical struggles, with the mayor and his staff. This led to the town honoring Emme with Emily Johanna Theisen Princess Warrior Day:

This led to a story with a TV station out of Panama City (sorry I don’t have a good link to share) and this story in the Northwest Florida Daily News.

I’ve been lucky in my time doing digital marketing to have met many people in, and connected to, Indianapolis media. Now that we had a story in a legitimate news source (before we had the press release, etc) I was able to share the story and see who would cover it. As I write this here is who has picked up the story in Indy:

FOX59 (TV)

The first local outlet to jump on board, Fox59 has invited us to do a live segment. We will be on September 12th at 8:45am.

WTHR 13 (TV)

Naomi Pescovitz came to the house and filmed a bunch of interviews and other footage. You could tell she had researched the story and truly cared about Emme’s medical history as much, or more so, than the ride. Turns out her mother ran Riley Hospital for years and her father was an organ transplant surgeon. There were so many parallels between her and the story, it was kind of eerie.

We don’t have an air date yet, but stay tuned to the #emmesmiles hashtag online for more info.


Nick Natario did a segment on Emme and the ride. It was the first to air in Indy. Having done video work before I was beyond impressed with the story he was able to weave under the circumstances he was given. Read the story and watch the video at http://wishtv.com/2016/08/24/pedaling-coast-to-coast-for-the-warrior-princess/


Jason Fechner is interested in covering the story, we are just working on a date to do some filming.

WIBC (Radio)

Mark did a taped interview with Terri Stacy. Once we have the link to it we will put it out via the normal channels.

The media coverage has been a great thing. The awareness is helpful to more than just us, it helps people become aware of what pancreatitis even is. We have seen a spike in donations with the extra coverage as well.

We get asked all the time how people can help our family. Before the pancreatectamy we didn’t have much we felt comfortable asking for help with. So in an effort to make it easier for people to know what they can do we’ve created this list of “needs” In no particular order here is the current list:

The support we received on a daily basis before all of this started was tremendous. The love and caring we have received from complete strangers since the ride coverage started has blown us away. Even through all of the bad, we appreciate everyone helping us see so much good.


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