Blog → March 9, 2023

Stories are Changemakers: An Instagram Live with Sarah Kippen Wood


Sarah Kippen Wood, Former Executive Director of Their Story is Our Story (TSOS), shares how stories connect and lead to change in an interview with Darien Laird, our Director of External Media. Sarah gives us an inside look at how TSOS functions and shares how telling her story helped her fight a stage four cancer diagnosis. Watch the story.


How have you seen stories make an impact on your community and then have you had any personal experiences with stories, maybe with you or your family?


TSOS taught me a lot about how to share my own story. I had to step away from my work with TSOS when I was diagnosed with stage four cancer…I had to find someone willing to give their liver to me, which meant I had to quickly become a teller of my own story… It was pretty uncomfortable at times. I never really wanted to be a cancer poster child, and I especially didn’t want to exploit my kids in the process. But I had to share my story to get attention on the issue in order to find a good match.

What began as me reluctantly sharing my personal story for primarily selfish motives, hopingnto find my own donor match, wound up having a bigger impact on my community. What I didn’t realize, was that sharing my story inspired someone else to take action in their own life.

Now, their story is linked to my story. This linking of stories is what TSOS is all about.


You were sharing stories during your chemotherapy treatments… Is there any particular story that really impacted you?


Noor’s story impacted, has impacted, and continues to impact my life. And where do I go from here? I can turn to my neighborhood with a newcomer family and welcome them in ways that they need to be welcomed. Because I heard Noor’s story and because it increased my understanding and empathy. And because when I welcome someone else, maybe instead of welcoming them with these twinges of pride or unknowingly patronizing condescension, I can see in someone else’s face myself. And I think that that is the way we can welcome people in a way that helps them feel like they truly belong somewhere, helps us all feel like we belong to the same community.

Other Posts

Why consent matters to us (and why it should matter to you too).

It is especially important to provide accurate information as to how a photo will be used and obtain consent when working with refugees.

March 16, 2023

Uniting for Ukraine: U.S. Sponsors Needed

Just as citizens in Europe and the U.K. have heroically supported displaced Ukrainians by opening up their homes or securing other housing, assisting with school enrollments, employment needs, and language learning, Americans now have the opportunity via the Sponsor Circles program to directly help newly arrived Ukrainians. The United States has committed to welcoming 100,000 Ukrainians temporarily for a period of two-years and the ability to apply for employment authorization in the U.S. as long as they have a U.S.-based sponsor to petition for them.

January 31, 2023

The American Dream via the Darien Pass

When I was in high school, I was fascinated by geography, and it struck me that there was a highway that I could hop on in my car and drive all the way down into South America. As an imaginative young girl growing up on the Texas-Mexico border, the idea of a road that could take me from my sleepy border town, Laredo, Texas, to the edge of the world in South America, left me awe struck. In high school I learned that this highway is called the Pan-American Highway.

January 9, 2023
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