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Pam Cope  

Author & Philanthropist

Nine years ago, Pam Cope’s life was as she had always imagined it would be. She owned a cozy hair salon in her small town of Neosha, Missouri. Her day to day routine consisted of her son’s baseball games, her daughter’s dance classes and planning for the occasional family trip’

Nothing could have prepared Pam for June 16, 1999, the day that her life was torn up from beneath her with the news of her 15 year-old son Jantsen’s sudden death from heart failure. Unable to cope with the loss of her son, a friend’s invitation to travel to Vietnam seemed like the perfect escape; far away from the life she thought had been built so soundly. From the moment Pam stepped into this unfamiliar culture however, her attitude soon changed. She was surrounded by poverty and people in dire circumstances in need of help. Pain was no longer a feeling of solitude; it was a shared emotion and a tool for change.

Upon her return to the States, Pam Cope came back with new purpose and new direction. Rather then remain in mourning; she used her pain to improve the lives of children that could still be saved. Today, Pam is the mother of two adopted children from Vietnam. With the support of her husband, they have created the foundation “Touch a Life” devoted to helping at-risk children in countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and Ghana.

At the podium, Pam discusses how to cope with tragic loss, how to turn loss into a beautiful act of generosity and how best to navigate the adoption process.


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