Today I climb for Richard Stefanacci and his family.
A few weeks ago, a Facebook friend posted a link about Lace Up 4 Pediatric Cancer, a campaign started by Go4TheGoal, in which sports teams and athletes don neon yellow shoelaces to support the fight against pediatric cancer. I fell in love with this simple-but-inspiring idea and the cause it supported. So I quickly purchased a pair with my sights set on climbing Kilimanjaro all laced up with a sunny little reminder of why I climb.
No more than 30 minutes after my purchase did Beth Stefanacci, Executive Director of Go4TheGoal, write an email to me that was filled with total happiness and excitement, as she wanted to know more about the climb. I wrote back to her with some information and my cell phone number, and I signed off as a supporter of her cause and a proud Jersey girl. Next thing I know, the phone rings and it displays my familiar home state area code: it’s Beth.
We spent the next few minutes discussing why we were both so excited for each others’ causes. I told her about my plans to wear the shoelaces with my hiking boots, my background fighting against pediatric cancer with Penn State Dance MaraTHON, and how I was climbing to support LIVESTRONG in memory and honor of the people I’ve known and loved that have fought against cancer.
And then Beth told me about Go4TheGoal, a non-profit she and her husband formed in 2006 when their oldest son Richard was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma at the age of 13. While it was difficult to hear this mother’s personal journey about losing her son in 2007, I realized that this family was really thoughtful and special. They used their own experiences with pediatric cancer to help others. Namely, their non-profit works to aid children suffering from childhood cancer that do not have the emotional, financial, and logistical support that the Stefanacci’s were fortunate enough to have for Richard. Go4TheGoal was born out of love, and it continues to help families that face a cancer diagnosis.
Today, Go4TheGoal has another initiative: “B Positive,” a campaign dedicated to supporting Richard’s cousin, Blake Buffa, who is currently doing great in her battle against a rare soft tissue cancer called Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. B Positive rallies behind Blake and keeps everyone updated on how she’s doing.
Cancer has touched the Stefanacci family twice now and it’s awesome that they stay so committed to helping others. And that doesn’t stop at helping families that are affected by pediatric cancer. For example, Beth even offered to help my fundraiser out, too. She kindly mentioned the idea of sending my letter out on her listserv, and then supplying me with the shoelaces and extra Go4TheGoal gear. She also donated, too, and I was really happy for the support to help me get closer to my $10,000 fundraising minimum requirement!
Today, when I got home from work, a package greeted me at the door from New Jersey, and it was filled with amazing gear that I am so excited to wear while I train (I’m also keeping my fingers crossed I can squeeze one of the t shirts that was sent to me into my bag for the climb, along with all my other equipment!).
Needless to say, I am very thankful to have crossed paths with this organization and this family. Because I think that as terrible as cancer is, I find that I when I get involved with the cause—whether it’s through the dance marathon, a 4,500 mile bike ride, or a climb up Africa’s tallest mountain—I end up meeting people who are just so incredibly selfless, generous, kind, and positive.
I recently watched a YouTube video where Beth and her son, Christopher, are talking about how they are guided by Richard’s spirit and his crazy energy. I hope I can be brave enough to harness that same type of energy when I climb 19,341 feet to the summit on July 2, 2012. When I get there, I also hope I’ll get a few moments to look down at my bright shoelaces, smile for Richard, and then remember why I climb: for him, for the Stefanacci family, and for all the families they’ll help with their organization, too.
Thanks so much, Go4TheGoal, for helping me raise money for cancer programs and services at LIVESTRONG! I’m very happy we can work together to make the lives of survivors, fighters, supporters, and families a little brighter!
Like the title says, I’ve almost raised $7,000 towards my $10,000 minimum fundraising requirement (which benefits cancer programs and services at LIVESTRONG) to climb Kilimanjaro with Survivor Summit. My team and I have raised over $60,000 so far, too!
I’m still exploring lots of options to keep fundraising, but you can help out by making a small donation or by spreading the word about this endeavor!
Thanks for everyone for donating during the $500 matching campaign, which ran from March 6 to March 15! I found out that the donor put their $500 check in the mail, so all those generous gifts will be matched once that check makes it to LIVESTRONG’S headquarters.
These kind donations and the additional matching component helped raise over $1,000 for cancer programs and services in just a few days. Now that I’m past the first official fundraising “checkpoint,”—and less than 100 days away from beginning the climb—I need to kick my training into high gear. And knock out these last few thousand dollars, too.
I think this is a great example of how social media can be used in a positive manner for a good cause. If you know someone who might be able to donate—even if it’s five or ten dollars—send them the link and tell them about the climb. Any amount helps!
Thanks to everyone for the amazing support so far!
100 days until I leave for Tanzania and start climbing Kilimanjaro with the Survivor Summit team!
I’ve had the kind support of friends and family who helped me meet 100% of my five hundred dollar matching campaign that ran March 6-15!
I’m still working hard to give this cause 100%; it would make my week to see my groups’ total get closer to our $100K goal. So please donate!
I’ve raised almost $6,000 for cancer programs and services at LIVESTRONG!
This is a reminder that one of my kind donors has agreed to MATCH ALL DONATIONS DATED UNTIL OUR FIRST FUNDRAISING CHECKPOINT ON MARCH 15, UP TO $500—meaning that with your help, I can fundraise $1,000! With this pledge to match gifts, $10 actually becomes a $20 donation; $25 becomes $50, and so on…up to a total of $500 from the donor.
So far, I’ve had $295 in gifts since matching began a few days ago, meaning there’s still $205 left to match.
Want to help? Now is the time to do it, because your gift will go twice as far!
Please visit my personal fundraising web page during these next few days and give what you are able, because any amount helps, and will help me get to my $10,000 minimum fundraising goal faster!
Great news: I’m over halfway to my $10,000 fundraising minimum for cancer programs and services at LIVESTRONG!
Even better news: One of my kind donors has agreed to MATCH ALL DONATIONS DATED FROM TONIGHT UNTIL OUR FIRST FUNDRAISING CHECKPOINT ON MARCH 15, UP TO $500—meaning that with your help, I can fundraise $1,000—or more!—in ten days. With this pledge to match gifts, $10 actually becomes a $20 donation; $25 becomes $50, and so on…up to a total of $500 from the donor.
So please visit my personal fundraising web page during these next 10 days and give what you are able, because any amount helps, and will help me get to my $10,000 minimum fundraising goal twice as fast!
Ah, downhills. They feel great on a run or on a bike ride because you get a chance to sit back and relax a little bit. You can just let gravity do the work, right? In fact, I remember one time when I hit 46.9 miles per hour on my bike on a downhill. It was the most exhilarating feeling as my little bike rattled underneath me—one that I won’t forget any time soon.
Today, I just started cruising on another downhill—the fundraising kind. I made it to over $5,000 in fundraising, which means I’m over halfway to minimum fundraising goal of $10,000 for cancer programs and services at LIVESTRONG! I am so, so thankful to everyone who has supported me with kind words and generous donations so far.
But guess what? There’s still work to be done! I can’t rest on my laurels just because I’ve hit the halfway point. No, it’s time to buckle down and keep working hard to get the word out about this great cause, and to support my teammates in their fundraising endeavors, too. Together, we’re trying to raise over $100,000 for LIVESTRONG, and I know I’ll have to keep devoting time and energy every day to nurture that goal as much as possible.
Similarly, I need to keep training—especially for the downhill. Coming down from 19,341 feet high is going to be a major feat, and my knees are going to be relying on a serious set of trekking poles, patience, and a good attitude!
So, I might not be going as fast as 47 miles an hour, but with every step, I’m getting closer to my goals!