Dragonfly Effect Podcast: John Thomas's Story

The Dragonfly Effect Podcast: John Thomas, Burke Marketing

In this episode, Ria Davidson, the co-founder of The Dragonfly Foundation, interviews John Thomas, Burke Healthcare’s Senior Vice President and Managing Director.

With skills such as statistics, data analysis, and questionnaire design, he started in the healthcare industry more than 25 years ago.

As a market researcher, he learns how people feel, why people do what they do and shares findings to help healthcare professionals provide better service. Although he’s not a doctor, John firmly believes he’s part of a process that makes a difference for patients and caregivers “during the roughest times of their lives.”

He shares that providing service and support, particularly related to quality of life, is just one area that stresses hospitals most.

“There are more than 15 million people in the healthcare industry,” he said. “It’s filled with people who want to do good, want to help.” However, he analyzes that professionals pursuing the purest of intentions are often challenged by a combination of limited resources, regulations and stretched schedules.

“What you do for one, you must do for all and it’s a struggle, he continues.

Through data analysis (quantitative) and learning about experiences during one-to-one and group listening sessions (qualitative) he identified a common theme that most people are unaware of the wide-ranging needs families have in situations involving during healthcare crises  

Patients and caregivers have shared their life stories, expressing that ‘people don’t get it’ and don’t support them in the way they need. They share that most people don’t understand the both the overall depth of need and the services that are not being provided (on a non-clinical basis),” Thomas deduces.

When relating those findings to cancer… It’s just hard to imagine.

Cancer is a “frightening word,” he continues. “Overlay pediatric cancer and you go from frightening to the real nightmare.”

His work with pediatric cancer families reveals families crave normalcy. They need and want to get away, not to hide, just to recharge and reconnect. 

“Families need support, they need community,” John says.

Most families know where to find medical care, but finding emotional support is much harder. Dragonfly is a place where they can just ‘be,’ just breathe, and experience a little of the life they had before they had cancer.”

The support Dragonfly creates for patients, siblings/offspring, parents and caregivers fills a systemic void by allowing families to experience life’s special and everyday moments they thought they would never have again. 

When John walked into The Dragonfly Foundation’s previous headquarters his first thoughts were “this is special; this is different; this is a vision of meeting the unfulfilled needs expressed during in-home visits. This is what they need.”

He shares that he was in awe when he visited Dragonfly’s permanent “Landing” in an historic home just five blocks from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

“The Landing’s architecture is warm, welcoming and relaxing, a perfect location where families can give and receive support while creating a unique, strong community of caring,” John says.

He and Dragonfly thrive through two impactful questions: “What do you need? How can I help?

Burke Marketing has supported Dragonfly with donated market research and support services for six years and counting.

The company’s dedication to helping customers become better, more innovative and more customer-centric leads them to make really good decisions. Burke’s focus on valuing humanity in service leads to a better understanding of needs and wants.

Ultimately, that combination has formed a perfect partnership forwarding Dragonfly’s mission of delivering strength, courage and joy to patients and families.

“At the end of the day, with all the technology and all the data we have around us, we are still a bunch of humans running around, sometimes not knowing what we are doing. We have to help each other, we have to come together and support each other, and that is what (Dragonfly) is doing. I am thrilled to be a part of it.”

Burke Inc. will further support Dragonfly when incoming their President & CEO Diane Surette joins The Dragonfly Foundation’s board.

Dragonfly is grateful to iHeart Radio host, Scott Sloan, for recording the introduction/closing of the podcast and to Joe Strecker for his production talents.

The Dragonfly Foundation(R), a 501c3 nonprofit, helps pediatric cancer patients and their families find strength, courage, and joy. We do this by providing ongoing support, relevant materials, and caring, nurturing and transformative experiences.

To donate and to learn more about Dragonfly, please visit Dragonfly.org or text WINGS to 71777.

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