When Doug Hebert attended a concert by Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder in 2012, he expected to see his favorite singer put on another fantastic show. What he got was so much more. Doug walked away inspired to make a difference in the lives of people he has never even met.
During the show, Eddie Vedder took time to speak to the crowd about his support for a little-known, yet devastating rare skin disease called Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). He talked about how he and his wife Jill are committed to finding a cure for EB after their dear friends had a son born with the condition. Vedder’s comments moved Doug, a diehard Pearl Jam fan and 15-year fan club member, to use his professional platform to create change through design.
That moment of inspiration led to a winning proposal for a Sappi Ideas that Matter grant that will now support much-needed materials to help the EB Research Partnership (EBRP) solicit funding and raise awareness that can change the lives of everyone who suffers from this deadly, painful disease.
“I’m most content in my life when I am doing work that has the potential to make a difference in the lives of others. My drive led me to actively look for a cause where Savage’s resources and talents can make the greatest impact for the people who need it the most,” said Hebert, Design Director at Savage Brands and the heart behind the agency’s nonprofit arm, Savage Good. “I have a real emotional connection to this cause. I watched video interviews conducted with people who suffer from EB, and I was moved to tears.”
EB is a condition where individuals lack a critical protein that binds layers of skin together. Without this protein, skin tears apart, blisters and shears off of the body, leading to severe pain, disfigurement and wounds that never heal. The mortality rate of EB is high and the majority of sufferers – approximately 30,000 people in the U.S. – are children.
“EB is devastating, and there is no known cure,’” said Hebert. “These materials will help educate people about the disease, but more importantly, our goal is to move and motivate people to contribute to life-saving research by telling the stories of those most affected. Doctors currently working with EBRP believe a cure is possible, even within the next ten years.
Hebert and the Savage team will begin work on the project, which will include new printed materials, a microsite, photography, and a video, in October, and expect to deliver the materials in the Spring of 2016.
“I had no idea that the music and musicians I love would inspire something like this – and I am so proud to make Savage part of a solution,” said Hebert. “If Eddie was looking to touch the heart of at least one person in the audience that night and inspire them to make a difference – I want him to know that he did. It’s amazing how little moments like that can lead to opportunities to create positive change.”
Sappi’s annual Ideas that Matter program has awarded more than $12.5 million in grants worldwide to projects that enhance our lives, our communities and our planet. Learn more here.