#Fearless4Friday: The Power of the Personal in Health .

In health PR, personal stories are part of the job. But a few weeks ago, I was struck with some powerful accounts before I even had my coffee. ESPN had its annual auction for The V Foundation for Cancer Research, established by ESPN and Jim Valvano 21 years ago.

Hearing guest after guest describe their cancer experiences was a reminder of an individual story’s power to make an unknown disease feel personal; a power that felt amplified in an unexpected medium, as part of an audience unaccustomed and not expecting to hear them.

Authentic personal stories can inspire and educate. Here are four fearless stories that captured hearts, minds, and media coverage last week.

1.  Stuart Scott


Accepting the 2014 Jimmy V Perseverance Award at Wednesday night’s ESPY awards, ESPN’s Stuart Scott spoke of his journey and helped reshape the cancer lexicon: “I said, 'I'm not losing, I'm still here, I'm fighting, I'm not losing.’ But I've got to amend that. When you die, that does not mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live."

 2. Kacy #mightykacy Catanzaro

As the first woman to complete American Ninja Warrior finals course on Monday, Kacy Catanzaro’s fortitude reached far beyond the television audience to inspire women of all ages to appreciate what their bodies can do.


3. Nathen Steffel


Nathen Steffel posted to Reddit Sunday: “My daughter recently passed away after a long battle in the children's hospital. She was in the hospital her whole life and we were never able to get a photo without all her tubes. Can someone remove the tubes?” Several days later Steffel has received more than 100 photos, drawings and paintings, and millions have learned about the rare noncancerous tumor hepatic hemangioma.

 4. Meghan Trainor


Singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor is making waves on the charts and in media with her body-confidence anthem “All About That Bass.” From an interview with Cosmopolitan: “I wrote it to help me as well. And it has helped me because people have been complimenting me like, ‘Man, you look good in that video!’ and I'm like, ‘Yeah I do!’ If I help other people that's just another dream come true.”