Surviving and Thriving
Nelson Knapp is a native of South Orange, N.J., who came to Bucknell to study economics. After earning his degree, he received an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan. His career led him to prestigious positions with the Carnation and Nestle companies. While with these corporations, he worked in new business development, creating many items that consumers rely upon today. However, it is the work he began after retirement that he claims to be "the most important of his life." Indeed, he and friends Steve Bishop and Tom Walsh (both of whom have been affected by cancer) have channeled their professional skills into celebrating the lives of some of the world's bravest survivors.
Together they developed www.sur5vor.com, where cancer survivors and their supporters can come to celebrate a most significant milestone - being cancer-free for at least five years. Knapp's wife, Mary, is a five-year breast cancer survivor, and he believes that building a strong community for cancer survivors can be therapeutic. Joyful commemoration is the mood that permeates the site, representing the key element in the trio's philosophy of "never give in, never give up, always give back."
The community of bloggers began in March 2010 and provides a forum for those striving to reach the five-year survivor mark, those who have already made it and their supporters. By sharing their stories, sur5vors and their supporters create a network that can touch those who, otherwise, have not articulated the rigors of their healing journeys. The website store offers many items that commemorate and celebrate victory over this disease. Included are Sur5vor party kits, to encourage Sur5vors to create their own holiday, perhaps even a new birthday. In addition, 5 percent of net sales go to support cancer research. - Maria Jacketti