Before each run, we have something called Mission Moments. Someone tells a story about a current or former cancer patient or survivor and the run is dedicated to someone’s honor or memory. These stories help to ease any pain that you feel during the run because it cannot compare to the pain and suffering of these people that we run for. It’s very inspirational for me..
Location: New York, New York
Profession: Finance Analyst
What was the first charitable gift you ever gave?”
My elementary school participated in Daffodil Days, which is a spring fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. They sold bunches of daffodils, which are symbolic of hope and life, to raise awareness and funds for the fight against cancer. I gave $5 for a bunch of daffodils.
What is your charity of choice?:
From a young age, the American Cancer Society (ACS) has been my charity of choice. My mom’s very good friend passed away from ovarian cancer when she was 42, leaving behind a 13-year-old son. I was 11 at the time, and I remember going with my parents to the hospital to visit. Over the years, I have seen some close friends suffer from the disease. Many have survived, but many have not. So this cause is very personal to me.
Cancer is a disease that affects so many people, and I think that ACS is such a great organization because it provides so many resources to those people. For example, they provide wig services, transport, and lots of support groups to patients. They also run Hope Lodge accommodations for outpatients, so that they don’t need to pay for a hotel when they travel for treatment.
What motivates you to give?:
Since I was very young, I’ve been taught that I am very fortunate to have what I have. I don’t have to worry about food or clothing or shelter, and not everybody is as privileged to live the type of life I am able to live. I became more aware of this in high school and college when I met people from different backgrounds.
In college, I was introduced to Loaves and Fishes, which is a soup kitchen in Ithaca. When I volunteered there, I could see the direct impact of donating my time. I was also encouraged to volunteer in an education class that required us to do service hours. These experiences were very rewarding, and since then, I’ve sought out ways to contribute. At work, I don’t feel like I am helping to benefit society, which pushes me to seek out other volunteer opportunities.
I currently train with a running group called DetermiNation that raises money for ACS. Most people in the group have had some personal experience with cancer. Before each run, we have something called Mission Moments. Someone tells a story about a current or former cancer patient or survivor and the run is dedicated to someone’s honor or memory. These stories help to ease any pain that you feel during the run because it cannot compare to the pain and suffering of these people that we run for. It’s very inspirational for me.
How do you give of your time?:
I run with DetermiNation to raise money for ACS. When I’m not running, I’m involved with a committee through DetermiNation that’s responsible for a variety of things – some of which include organizing events at the Hope Lodge, brainstorming ideas for fundraising, setting up inspirational dinners, recruitment, and providing moral support.
I’m also participating in a long-term Cancer Prevention Study through ACS, with about 304,000 other participants. At the start of the study ACS did blood work and measured my waist circumference. The organization will follow me through surveys over the course of 30 years to track my lifestyle – environment, exercise habits, etc. – to assess my health. The goal is to establish linkages between cancer and behavioral/environmental factors. Hopefully future generations will be able to reap the benefits from this study – not me or my children even, but hopefully my grandchildren.
What advice do you have for others to consider giving?:
One way that can make it a little easier is to volunteer through events organized by your office. They are already set up for you, so you don’t have to find them.
Beyond that, there are so many different charities out there. I think NY Cares is a great way to get involved, at least locally. It’s really easy to sign up, and there are various levels of commitment, timing, and setting.