Heroes & Villains


Today, we recognize World Storytelling Day.  In the spirit of the day, let’s take a look at a cause that gets it just right when it comes to utilizing storytelling to connect with supporters online.

There has been a good deal of news coverage surrounding  the Lawrey family, and it’s not because little Gavin Lowery is a cute kid, or because he’s struggling with Mitochondrial Disease.  It’s because the way the family tells its story is engaging, compelling, perfect.

Let’s take a look at the Hope 4 Mito website:


The site is simple, but nicely designed.  The homepage features a picture of Gavin surrounded by his supportive family.  A short video is central to the page; it briefly and poignantly tells Gavin’s story.  It demonstrates his heroism and appeals to the viewer to be Gavin’s partner in the fight against his disease.  Finally, a mission statement sums up the page:  It identifies a clear fundraising goal and contains an invitation to “spread the word and the awareness”.

Gavin’s Journey is depicted using a picture slideshow – everyone is familiar with this format as a means of documenting and sharing a child’s progress through life with friends and family.  This slideshow tells the story of Gavin’s life and the viewer feels a part of the family.  We see his birth, his joyful moments on vacation, his smile, his occasional grumpiness – and his visits to the hospital, the ventilators and machines enveloping him.  We see him try to smile with tired, sick eyes…and it tugs at the heartstrings

The Support page shows us the generous spirits of Gavin’s friends who just want him to get better.  We see their faces; we hear their voices in the quotations provided.  It makes the reader want to join the chorus of voices supporting Gavin.

Almost as central to the story as little Gavin is the literal storybook that Makenzie wrote to teach the world about her brother’s disease and raise money to try to find a cure.  Video trailers grab the viewer’s attention and provide a glimpse into both the story and its author.  Links to the media stories surrounding Makenzie and her book serve both to contribute to Gavin’s story and legitimize it.

The call to action is moving and simply stated:  “Can I ask you a question?  How old are you?   Will you pledge to donate that number in dollars towards Makenzie’s million dollar goal? Let’s send up prayers, wishes, love and above all HOPE that with our support Gavin may live to enjoy as many years as each of us. Your donation is more than just a number or dollar amount; it represents life. Let’s band together and take a stand against Mitochondrial Disease and help find a cure.”  The stated fundraising goal of $1,000,000 is ambitions, but achievable.

More important than professional-looking videos or beautiful web design is the heart behind Gavin’s story told using language, image & video in perfect combination.  The end result makes a visitor want to support this brave little superhero and his courageous friends and family.