Tell us about yourself.
My name is Denise Kranich, and I’m the Executive Director of LINC, (Legal Information Network for Cancer). I previously worked at the Innsbrook Foundation as the Executive Director for 18 years. My other work has included HRH Insurance, (Marketing and Sales), and the IIAV, Independent Insurance Agents of Virginia, (marketing). I also worked at WRIC-TV as the PM Magazine co-host with Matt Lauer.
What is the focus of your work?
We help cancer patients with legal and financial issues. LINC has over 200 pro bono attorneys and financial consultants who help our clients with simple wills, powers of attorney, advance medical directives, insurance and Social Security denials, bankruptcy, medical debt, employment discrimination, foreclosures, and many other challenging issues. It is so difficult for cancer patients to get well if they are battling all of these other issues while undergoing treatment. Our goal is to help them with these challenges, so they can concentrate on getting well.
ABOVE: A story of working with a cancer patient. LINC is the only organization of its type, not only in Virginia, but in the country, that helps cancer patients and their families with legal and financial information.
What do you find most rewarding about your work?
I am a cancer warrior myself, having been diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years ago. The first thoughts you have are, “Am I going to die? What happens to my family if I am not here?” I was fortunate enough to have the resources to hire an attorney to prepare my will, and I also was fortunate to have good insurance and a good employer. Many of our cancer patients do not have the resources and may have never talked to an attorney before. They may have challenges at their job with taking time off while they are going through treatments. When we solve one client’s problem and help in his or her journey, that is what makes me happy. It is one cancer patient at a time with one issue at a time.
What are some major challenges you have faced and how you handled them?
The biggest challenge in my life was being diagnosed with breast cancer. My treatment included chemotherapy, radiation, and a lumpectomy. My daughter was 15 at the time, and it was a very scary time. I learned the best thing to do was to change my attitude into a positive one and fight the cancer. I also knew that one day I would help other people who were fighting cancer, and here I am at LINC.
Being Executive Director is the best job I have ever had, and it is also the hardest. My role also includes being the development director, and raising money for a small non-profit in the Greater RVA area is very challenging because there are so many other worthy non-profits. What LINC does is very different than other cancer non-profits. We are helping people who already have cancer try to handle some challenging legal or financial problems.
What’s coming next for your organization that really excites you?
LINC has 2 upcoming special events, “It’s in the Bag” which is our annual silent and live handbag auction on February 2nd at the Westin Hotel, and we have our Awards Spring Luncheon on May 12th at the Virginia Historical Society in which we honor LINC volunteers and philanthropists. “It’s in the Bag” is our biggest fundraiser of the year. There are many designer handbags, handmade bags, and we have special table which include a “Man Table” (golf bags, athletic bags, tickets and so forth); a “Staycation Table,” (local RVA activities and fun things to do in the RVA area paired with a handbag); and a “Book and Author Table” (signed books and handbags). Great food, great company, great handbags, and all for a great cause.
How are you leveraging ConnectVA to achieve your mission?
We use ConnectVA for all of our job postings, and we get a great response to the advertisements. Also my staff and board take many of the fantastic classes that are offered locally. The classes are a great resource and learning experience for all.
Anything else you would like to share?
LINC is always looking for volunteers to help with our various events. We use volunteers at the Irish Festival, the Celtic Festival, and the National Beer Expo. We also have volunteer opportunities in our offices, on our LINC Board, and our Junior Board. We love volunteers. We can also use more volunteer attorneys and financial consultants. Come visit our office and meet our staff. We would love to meet you.