Friday, June 8, 2012

Why do I fundraise?

Those of you that know me know that I've done different fundraisers for different organizations. I'd just like use this post to share why I raise funds for them and introduce a new organization that I'm fundraising for.

American Cancer Society Relay for Life
I first began participating in Relay for Life in 1996 when the VA clinic that I was working at decided to put a team together. We were all fairly new at fundraising and didn't do such a spectacular job that first year but as we continued to participate we got better. When I left the clinic I began participating with the medical group team on base where I was then working. Military precision and great people with fundraising  know how made the experience great. After I left that position after 4 years I was out of the scene for a couple of years during which I had to have a breast biopsy for a mass that turned out to be benign. That experience amped up my participation in the Relay again. A few years passed and my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer which is now in remission. The same year a dear friend was diagnosed with colon cancer. That year I became a team captain and led a group of my nursing students and friends raising $1,600 and shaving my head for the cause. In late 2011 I found out another friend was diagnosed with lung cancer and my other friend had been diagnosed with metastasis to the lungs. So it was for them that I raised over $2,000 this year and again shaved my head bald. It is for these people, my former patients and total strangers that I will continue to participate in Relay for Life as often as possible to help fund the research and advocacy to finally find a cure for all types of cancers.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
This year was the first year I've worked with the LLS. I have to admit that it was kind of a selfish reason that I started working with them...I wanted to run my first half marathon but I needed coaching. I was hesitant at first due to the sizeable fundraising requirement but once I got going (and thanks to a significant donation from an old friend) I was able to raise more than my required $2,900...I raised more than $3,400!! I didn't personally know anyone affected by leukemia, lymphoma or myelodysplastic syndrome other than former patients of mine, but in the course of my training I have become friends with several survivors who were running with LLS or whom I simply met online in other running groups. My goal is to do a fundraising race with LLS at least every other year so I'm going to have to choose a race in 2013 to accomplish that goal. As chemotherapy drugs become harder to obtain and more expensive the LLS has been a leading institution in advocacy for better access to meds, has provided research that has found medications not only significant to their own specific organization but to cancers in general and providing financial support to those in need affected by leukemia, lymphoma and myelodysplastic disorder.

Team Red, White & Blue
This is my newest fundraising cause. In fact, I just joined today! Being a veteran with a disability I feel that I need to give back to other veterans and their families. In my runs I try to do races that benefit veterans in one way or another. Now, not all races do that but with this organization I can choose my races that have no such component and still raise funds for our wounded vets and their families. The goal of Team RWB is to help smooth the reintegration of the wounded warrior and the family back into the general community with one-on-one support/relationships, community level activities and advocacy programs. I'll begin getting the word out about Team RWB by wearing a running shirt/tank emblazoned with their eagle logo at races (no, I'm not giving up my Half Fanatic shirts...all my different teams/club shirts will just get rotated), fundraising and whatever I can think of to help the cause. So, check out their website by clicking on the title for this paragraph and please consider donating by clicking here. I'll be completing the Bataan Memorial Death March in March 2013 to benefit Team RWB. If you're a vet or simply a concerned citizen/athlete please consider joining the team!

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