We had the good fortune of connecting with Danyelle Morris and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danyelle, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Evett Dearbonne and I had been friends since Elementary School. I was God-mother to both of her children. She was Aunt Evett to both of mine. Our families were joined together through us. Just short of her 41st birthday in June of 2015, Evett noticed a pea-sized mass under her left breast. In one year, Inflammatory Breast Cancer had taken her away from us. The loss was so painful, that I knew that something good had to come from it. We had a 5k to honor her memory, and from there the REDM Foundation was born.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I believe that what sets The REDM Foundation apart and the part that I am most proud of is that every person who is a part of this organization has a deep passion to fight cancer. We have all lost someone who we have hugged, loved, and knew. That type of buy-in provides our foundation with a different type of drive. It is more intense. It is more emotional. It’s not a club, it’s a calling. The community has caught hold of our vision and they drive us forward. They support us. We have been so successful because of all who support us.
The road has been difficult. We have been tasked with building a culture for giving in an area where it had not been done before. We live in a small town, and there are not many organizations like ours, especially led by Black women. We have had to build credibility. We have had to make sure that we do exactly what we say we are going to do. We have to take the high road all the time because someone is always watching. There has been a lot to learn. We did not have the slightest idea about running a non-profit foundation. The constant reminder of who Evett was and why we do what we do is often a heavy burden, but it also is a healing agent for us. Her name is spoken. She is not forgotten. Her grandchildren will know who she was and her life will have value because her legacy lives on. Also, there are those who feel we are “doing too much”. There are those who speak negatively of our efforts, and that’s okay. As long as a difference is being made, we can take it. All publicity is good publicity.
We will continue to fight cancer for those who cannot fight anymore, and for those who need to know that they are not alone.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
On Friday night, I might tell a visiting friend to check out Phil and Derek’s Speak Easy Comedy Lounge. For Saturday, I would point them to one of my favorite restaurants in Houston, Max’s Wine Dive. They have the best fried chicken and chicken fried lobster ever. We also enjoy going to Cleo’s Lounge, Tapas, and Fine Music. The food is wonderful and the live music is great. Of course on Sunday, if you are in Houston, you would not want to miss the opportunity to worship at the Lighthouse Church and hear an amazing word from the Lord, delivered by Pastor Keion Henderson. The choir is wonderful and the atmosphere is so inviting.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First, I want to dedicate my shoutout to Evett Dearbonne and Nikki Cook. They are wind beneath my wings. I fight for them. I would also like to dedicate my shoutout to all the people who are battling cancer of any kind. Know that we love you, pray for you, and fight with you. To Jessica Dearbonne, who is all things to REDM Foundation, none of this would be possible without her. My family is my support system. My husband, dad, and my children have been here with me since the beginning of this journey. Love and blessings to you all.