Michigan Start-Up, International Caregiver Network, Competes For TED's 2012 “Ads Worth Spreading” Challenge

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Michigan start-up, International Caregiver Network, competes in TED's “Ads Worth Spreading” challenge with powerful video about the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) caregivers.

I think we are only as strong in our culture as our most underserved population and the LGBT community is in dire need.

When International Caregiver Network (ICN) launched The Caring Heart Project: DETROIT last month, they had no idea that helping a local caregiver could put them on the world’s stage. Now, this Michigan start-up has the opportunity to be 1 of the 10 finalists in the TED.com Ads Worth Spreading 2012 Competition. The finalists will be announced at TED’s spring conference in Long Beach, CA at the end of February.

TED is a nonprofit that supports social entrepreneurship. It began in 1984 as an innovative fusion of three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, and Design. Since then, TED has grown into a global community with two annual conferences – the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK each summer. TED is well-known for its award-winning TEDTalks video site (TED.com) and the annual TED Prize.

ICN managing partner, Dr. David Solomon, a West Bloomfield health care marketer and a caregiver himself, explains “TED conferences are empowering and the TED community inspired us to use the power of business to solve a significant social problem for the nation’s 65.7 million caregivers.” Just two month’s prior to ICN’s launch, The Family Caregiving Alliance (caregiver.org) released two groundbreaking reports dedicated to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) caregivers. As The Caring Heart Project: DETROIT began to unfold, Solomon noted that “The research came to life as we discovered that the caregiver in our story, AJ O’Neil, lives apart from his partner who had to leave Detroit to care for his own mother.”

ICN’s Chief Caregiving Officer, Dr. James Huysman (drjamie.com) is one of the country's leading authorities on Caregiver Burnout, Compassion Fatigue and Boomer Addiction. “I think we are only as strong in our culture as our most underserved population and the LGBT community is in dire need,” opines Huysman. He explains that “The LGBT community battles many family of origin issues and many find themselves ostracized and alienated and nowhere to turn.”

People can vote for the video at http://bit.ly/xoSAHP on TED's Ads Worth Spreading channel on YouTube.

The Michigan roots run deep for ICN. Huysman and Solomon were introduced through a mutual friend, Dan Weaver, who was Executive Producer on WXYZ-TV’s Kelly & Company where Solomon was an intern. Huysman’s last visit to Detroit was as an expert witness for Geoffrey Fieger who supported the Amedure family in the Jenny Jones trial.

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Lauri Alvarez
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