• Gianna

#6 “If you just keep throwing darts at a dart board something is bound to stick”

Updated: Jul 24, 2019

Everything about my most recent facetime call was awesome. If you have ever met me, you would know my love for headbands. I had the opportunity to talk with someone who shares the same passion! Except Jess Ekstrom’s love for headbands lead her to make a difference. She founded Headbands of Hope. For every headband she sells, she donates a headband to a child with cancer. Her brand has donated their product to every children’s hospital in America and 15 countries! (Totally fan-girling over this!)

I think most teenagers would be able to relate to sixteen year old Jess. Her happiness was dependent on if she was liked, so she would try to be what she thought others wanted her to be. Jess also felt as if she was being measured by choosing A, B, C, or D on a test. Getting good grades was extremely important to her. She defined her self worth with her class rank. She would spend hours studying to still get a low grade. She feared her life experience would treat her the same way.

But then something changed, Jess graduated and decided her life was not going to be defined by the opinion of others and scores on a multiple-choice test. She decided she was going to do her own thing. She had no idea where she would land so she calls this “throwing darts”. She threw her first dart, left the college she was attending, and landed at the Disney college program. As part of the program at Disney, Jess was given the opportunity to photograph kids with life-threatening illnesses who were at the park through the Make-A-Wish program.

While photographing the children, Jess noticed something interesting. Due to their illness, many of the children had lost all or part of their hair and although they were offered wigs and hats, they chose to wear headbands. There was something special about headbands. She

realized that these kids did not want to hide what they were going through; they simply wanted to be themselves. Jess went to Disney World because of her boost of confidence, and now she had an idea for giving children the same boost. During her junior year of college, Jess threw another dart and created Headbands of Hope. For every headband she sells, she gives one to a child with cancer. Soon that will be 400,000 headbands given away around the world!! (Go purchase a headband!

So, what can we learn from Jess? We can learn to start throwing darts. Go try out for that team, fill out that application, or just go do something outside the box. It does not matter if some of your darts miss the board. It matters that some will stick. Do not let a bad grade or the opinion of others stop you from dreaming. You never know when your dreams are going to hit the bullseye.

Jess would have never landed on her bullseye without leaving the college she was attending to go to Disney World. Look where doing something crazy took her. Where is your next dart going to land?

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