Imagine being 22 – you could be preparing to graduate college, start your career or maybe run your own business.
This doesn’t seem so hard to Grayson Gilbert.
When he was five years old, Grayson said he was diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer, seen before in only four other children, and was forced to undergo surgery when all he wanted to do is play baseball.
The senior communications major survived the surgeries, and over 15 years later he’s using his own success story to try to inspire others through his new non-profit organization The Inspirational Medicine Foundation, which Gilbert founded and became the president of in January.
The Inspirational Medicine Foundation seeks to create a secure online network for seriously ill children and their heroes to communicate.
Gilbert said he remembered how much his visit from his child-hood hero Cal Ripken, Jr. meant to him when he was sick and said he wants to inspire others in the same way. The company is waiting a final accreditation from the IRS to begin to truly launch their business.
“It’s based upon his story with pancreatic cancer,” Coleman Bass, Gilbert’s longtime friend and business associate said. “He … survived against a two percent chance of survival. One of the first medical recorded cases in history, it truly is a medical anomaly.”
The organization has already begun working with “Inspirational Heroes” such as Baltimore native and singer/songwriter Emma White who performed at Artscape over the summer.
“They think that their role models and heroes are like gods,” Bass said. “They really look up to these people and can provide mental encouragement. It’s amazing to see.”
The duo said they hope to expand their company after receiving their final accreditation.
The company has employees in Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia, and even a graphic designer in Australia.
Gilbert said he and Bass have future plans to expand the company through social media and fundraising events like lacrosse tournaments and a 5K in New York.
Gilbert’s has continued to give to others until this day through his non-profit.
“If you wanted to see someone, you would go and see them,” Bass said. “But today we have Skype, we have Oovoo, we have technologies where we can meet with people and send inspirational messages virtually. That’s our focus, sustainable virtual technologies to empower people and inspire them.”