Rabble Holdings, Pittsburgh’s newest digital media company founded by celebrated KDKA media personality Marty Griffin, has launched Sparkt.com with a social media campaign to bring awareness to a highly-preventable and often misunderstood form of cancer.

HPV-related cancers threaten more than 80 million Americans who carry the Human Papilloma Virus, and it’s on the rise. Instances of HPV-related cancers in men, for example, have more than doubled in the last 20 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Marty Griffin is one of those men affected by this highly-curable, and very preventable, form of cancer.

Now, Griffin is on a mission, not just to cure his own cancer, but to bring an end to all HPV-related cancers. The Sparkt campaign will document Griffin’s journey as he undergoes treatment for squamous cell cancer of the Oropharynx.

“I started Sparkt long before this diagnosis. I started the company to tell stories of change and hope,” Griffin said. “I never thought that I would become one of the first Sparkt stories.” The campaign is designed to create awareness and encourage preventive vaccination so that others can avoid this cancer type.

The campaign is the first example of Sparkt’s mission to use the power of storytelling to inspire, inform, and connect people to their communities. Sparkt stories provide users with unprecedented opportunities to take action and have a positive impact in their communities, and will create engagement opportunities for companies that care about the communities in which they do business.

HPV Rates in Pittsburgh

Nearly one in four Americans is infected with HPV, according the the Center for Disease Control. The most effective form of protection from the virus is a 3-injection vaccination series, typically administered to girls and boys in their early teens. “HPV vaccination rates for girls and boys in the Pittsburgh area are still far below the Healthy People 2020 goal of 80 percent, although they are improving,” according to Lyn B. Robertson, associate director of Health Equity, Education and Advocacy at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, as reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette earlier this summer. Still, less than half of 14 to 17-year-olds in Allegheny County had even started the eight-month vaccination schedule in 2014.

Sparkt.com Is a New form of News

Griffin has been developing the unique and inspiring concept behind Sparkt for much of the last two years, first through the prototype RabbleVID.com and now with the forthcoming Sparkt.com. “So many news stories end after delivering bad news,” Griffin said. “I wanted to do the stories that just begin once the fire trucks leave and the police cars roll away. That’s when real help is needed. That’s when stories get personal. That’s when stories get hopeful.”

The complete Sparkt social media platform will launch in mid October. In the meantime, the company is beginning to tell its first story today, publishing on the company’s website (sparkt.com) and social media outlets, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The story will unfold over the next 8 weeks as we join “Marty’s Journey” through the challenges and victories of Griffin’s his cancer treatment.

Users can follow “Marty’s Journey” to eradicate HPV-related cancers at Sparkt.com and @sparktPGH on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Sparkt is a new social media platform harnessing the power of storytelling to ignite the change-agent in everyone. The Sparkt platform creates meaningful relationships with Pittsburghers by giving them the opportunities to ask for help, offer services, express concerns, and celebrate local heroes. Sparkt also created unprecedented, cross-media opportunities for area businesses to more deeply engage in their customer community.


Sparkt is a media brand of Rabble Holdings, Inc., a digital media startup dedicated backed by Draper Triangle LLC and iNetworks LLC, both of Pittsburgh. Learn more at sparkt.com.

Still photography to accompany this release is available at http://bit.ly/MartysJourneyPhotos.

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