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Do it yourself, together

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Amid a second year of an uncertain global pandemic that forced so many of us to spend time apart, thousands of people across the nation found a way to come together to support Living Beyond Breast Cancer. Many people came together through a growing number of do-it-yourself (DIY) fundraisers, which collectively increased their giving by 15 percent since 2020.

In 2021, nearly 2,000 people participated in over 200 DIY fundraisers, raising a combined total of more than $190,000 for LBBC’s mission. Facebook fundraisers alone accounted for $25,000 of that total. Additionally, participants in Reach & Raise, a now retired event, secured over $200,000 from their communities. 

Though the amount of funds raised is impressive and incredibly appreciated, the numbers do not capture the personal stories or begin to describe the countless hours of organizing for those leading the charge. Their vibrant creativity, commitment, and dedication are simply invaluable.

The pandemic persisted, but so did our community. Among our top DIY fundraisers this year were three of LBBC’s newly trained leadership volunteers who are already making a big impact as breast cancer advocates.

Led by Joanne Caruso and Gina Caspersen, the team at Nixon Peabody rallied behind Diana Kenneally (Hear My Voice Advocate, Class of 2021) raising $5,805 for their company’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month fundraiser. 

“As Diana’s work family, we wanted to show her that we support her in her treatment while battling breast cancer,” said Caruso. “We were overjoyed at the response, as it also opened the door for others to share their own (or their loved one’s) journey with fighting this horrible disease. We are grateful for LBBC and were happy to support this amazing organization on Diana’s behalf.”

Meanwhile, Myra Camino (Young Advocate, Class of 2021) was surprised by the outpouring of support after posting a curated basket of handmade goods she was auctioning off on Facebook, raising $3,328.

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Ashely Egan (Young Advocate, Class of 2021) loved it when her father gave her flowers after each chemo treatment, and so she decided to replicate that joy for others by selling $5 bouquets. This then grew into a partnership with the Annawan High School volleyball team, which raised money for local cancer survivors every year at their Volley for a Cure night by selling items such as T-shirts, bracelets, necklaces, and lollipops. As a past recipient, they asked Egan to choose an organization to give the money to since they did not have anyone in the community going through treatments at the time. With a of population of about 1,000, the small town of Annawan, Illinois, raised $2,420, $250 of which came from Ashley’s beautiful bouquets, handmade with love.

Across the country friends, family, and coworkers united in the name of loved ones and to support LBBC.

  • Since 2016, Moncrieffe Chambers, owner of Exodus Unisex Spa in Darby, Pennsylvania, has been donating October proceeds from his barbershop to LBBC. This year he donated $1,900.
  • Saima Haroon at CycleBar in Sugar Land, Texas, organized her second Breast Cancer Awareness Charity Ride, raising $1,547.
  • The team at Royal Fitness in Barrington, New Jersey, put together an outdoor Pink Party Zumbathon, raising $1,520. 
  • Suzanne Stanton of Northgate Jazzercise in Seattle, Washington, hosted a class in memory of Carol Lebing, who died of metastatic breast cancer in September 2021, raising $1,680. 
  • AIG Philadelphia hosted a virtual scavenger hunt for its fifth annual fundraiser in memory of former employee, Pat Chase, raising $775.

Even our very own Keneene Lewis, support services coordinator, had the honor of speaking on behalf of LBBC before the upcoming graduating class of nurses from South College in Atlanta, Georgia. The class had recently held a breast cancer fundraiser and decided to donate the $480 raised to LBBC.

I chose to speak to the class of nurses because I know that they’ll be on the front line,” said Lewis. “When I was diagnosed, the nurses who were assigned to me made the difference. They uplifted, encouraged, and celebrated with me. I am still free of disease and forever indebted to them.”

These personal and powerful stories show how people have used a very frightening time in their lives to create meaningful connections, shedding light on the importance of community support. No one should face breast cancer alone, and together we’re envisioning a world where no one has to.

Thanks to all of you for being an irreplaceable part of our team. Your support makes a difference.

Interested in creating a DIY fundraiser? Contact Monica Steigerwald at: msteigerwald@lbbc.org 

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