Today I’m talking with Hildegard Koenig, proud mother of 2 who has dedicated her career to helping others. She’s a survivor of domestic violence and sexual abuse who has a burning passion to give her voice for victims of crime and cancer warriors. Hilde is the co-founder and president of the Ink Against Cancer foundation, a unique 501c3 that connects local artists to provide financial aid for cancer warriors.
The Consequences of Domestic Abuse
Hilde shares that her first experience with sexual assault came when she was a child in Venezuela, and influenced her adulthood when she met her abuser and eventual ex-husband. She stayed in the marriage until nearly losing her life, and left with nothing but her two children—15 months and 2 months old, respectively—and was scared of what would happen. Hilde says she wishes she had known of more of the resources available for victims of domestic and sexual abuse.
After sharing her story and getting a protective order against her abuser, Hilde started from the bottom once again. She endured many medical issues, both physical and mental, from the abuse, and still does today. However, despite her doubts and fears as a single mother, she stayed away from her abuser and eventually remarried to someone who adopted her children as his own.
Starting a Non-Profit
Hilde’s passion for helping people overcome cancer led to her nonprofit, “Ink Against Cancer Foundation.” Not only had her mother-in-law passed away from cancer, but Hilde’s close-friend shared his frustrations with her about the lack of resources he had to even pay bills or make rent while out of work. Hilde organized an event where many of the artists who tattooed her friend, Wolf, came together and raised funds to support her friend. Wolf, before passing, asked Hilde to continue in his memory.
“Ink Against Cancer” is now preparing for its 7th annual event, with over 90 applications from cancer warriors. Hilde and her husband, along with four other board members, work in their offtime to support in whatever way they can, whether it’s helping pay for gas, meals, or buying Christmas presents.
Uniting Artists Against Cancer
The 501c3 provides last wishes for adults as well as children whose wishes weren’t able to be fulfilled during COVID-19. “Cancer does not discriminate,” Hildegard says, which is why the foundation works for cancer warriors no matter the age or cancer type. After the fundraiser, artists get to meet the families they’re helping and see where their donations go to. Hildegard says that while they only ask artists for 50% of what they make, the majority donate 100%.
Hilde and her partners want to make a difference, big or small, in someone’s life. She hopes that listeners know that we all have our own story. “And it’s your story. No one can take that away from you.”
Listen in to learn more about the effects of abuse on families, Hilde’s five-year-plan, and how to get involved with “Ink Against Cancer.”
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