Since 2006, when the initial stories about Henry were shared through the website, over 45,000 emails recounting stories of recovery have been sent to Henry, the three-legged cat. The storybook What’s the Matter with Henry? has been used by schools and in hospitals to overcome stigma, and to help individuals begin to see themselves as more than their disability. By taking an appreciative approach to challenge, Henry helps children and their families see that loss does not determine their attitudes, capacities, or selves. His basic message is be proud of who you are, notice what you can do, and do not let anyone label you with limitations.

Since 1998, The Athena Charitable Trust of La Jolla, California has worked to improve health, education, well-being and economic status. After the devastating California fires of 2003 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, their mission expanded to include help to families suffering from disease, disabilities or from natural disasters. The Founders, Cathy Conheim, a practicing psychotherapist of thirty plus years, and Dr. Donna Brooks, a retired OB/GYN, have funded innovative projects and dedicated their efforts to expanding the effects of these projects.

The Just Me Project is an outgrowth of Henry’s World, the stories of the adventures of a three-legged cat and of those who have responded to Henry in over 45,000 emails. Over 30,000 copies of the book What’s the Matter with Henry? are in circulation. Over 6000 copies have been distributed to military families, families of sick children and children displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Since the book was first published in 2006, it has won various awards from the ASPCA and the National Cat Writers’ Association and been recognized for the innovative use of the voice of an animal to engage humans in non-threatening ways about difficult subjects and feelings. Added to this unique approach is a long-term program to reinforce the lessons. What’s the Matter with Henry? is now being distributed to teach recovery and tolerance by First Book, Reach Out and Read and the Whiteman Foundation. It is also translated and available in Spanish. The companion book, What About Me? I’m Here Too!, (also available in Spanish), addresses the role of the invisible sibling when all the time and attention is devoted to the sick child. Told through the voice of Dolly the dog, it engages children in learning how to develop resilience and acquire a vocabulary of feelings.

The Just Me Project provides a vocabulary that focuses on strength and resilience in order to open conversations about recovery. It emphasizes the recognition of both skills and opportunities among families coping with the special needs of children or adults living with chronic illness, mobility and disability issues from around the world. The Just Me Project teaches us about community, resilience, trust, prejudice, and overcoming stigma, enemies becoming friends, challenges becoming learning experiences, and most of all that life is an adventure that we need to live fully.