We had the good fortune of connecting with Alyssa Banks and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alyssa, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My thought process was to create a way for children in and out of the hospital to experience Disney-like magic without having to physically go to Disney. Think of how exciting it would be to meet your favorite celebrity or tv show character. Now imagine you get to spend almost an hour talking with them about whatever it is you may be going through. These kids experience that by getting to tell their favorite princess about their chemotherapy treatments or upcoming brain surgery. That’s true magic.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
The Princess Program Foundation was created to bring magic to children battling serious illnesses. While it does all of that, there is a connection that is made with families as well. There’s multiple nonprofit organizations out there that are similar to us, but what makes us different is the relationships we have with these families. We listen to their troubles, we lend a shoulder to cry on, we check in consistently, and we let them know they will never be alone. It’s not easy to create these relationships, over time there’s a certain amount of trust to be built, especially in the world of social media. Once you build that trust, you get to be one of the people they tell that their son is out of surgery and they removed the whole tumor. They know they can reach out when their child is having a hard day and would love to talk to a character. I’ve learned that while keeping a professional persona, it’s also okay to be human when interacting with the families of these children. If you take one thing away from this, I’d like you to know that what makes the princess program what it is, is the relationships that we build and maintain with these people who are going through some of the worst times. That is what makes what we do so important.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Our shoutout is dedicated to Team Jocelyn. Jocelyn, a forever 3 year old girl gave us our “why”. She taught us why we are fighting and why we can never give up. Through countless zoom hours and even a meet up in person, this little girl forever changed the lives of many of our princesses. If you saw the way she lit up at seeing Mrs. Mouse in person, I promise you you’d believe in magic. Jocelyn passed away last September and all of us felt the pain over her loss. Like I said, she gave us our “why”. We have to keep fighting for childhood cancer awareness because of her. We spend an extra 5 minutes listening to a child telling us she doesn’t have to have an NG tube anymore, because Jocelyn didn’t get that opportunity. She taught us to stop and enjoy the moments and remember that true magic exists in the hearts of those fighting a battle bigger than themselves. Jocelyn’s mother Katelynn, who runs the account is another reason never to stop fighting for what you believe in. Through Jocelyn’s entire battle and even her heart-shattering end, she has advocated for childhood cancer awareness. She’s the one who taught millions of people that 4% is not enough for childhood cancer. I wouldn’t know what that number is, if it wasn’t for her. Where we thank Jocelyn, we also have to thank Katelynn. As Katelynn is just as much a warrior as Jocelyn. We are so grateful to have Team Jocelyn in our lives.
Other: TikTok: @princessprogramofficial