So I think I mentioned something about a fundraiser in my last post. Well, it’s over now and if I’m being completely honest, I was a little disappointed. I guess I’ll backtrack a bit and go to the beginning.
At the beginning of the summer, one of my friends approached me and asked me if I would like to help her put on a funraiser for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Since she was leaving the next week for Ecuador for a month (summer study abroad program through Clemson), she was thinking the fundraiser would be towards the end of the summer. She said that she’d been contacted by someone from St. Jude’s asking if she could help. Of course I said yes. Not only do I love helping people or good causes, but I also know how much St. Jude’s can help. One of my cousins was diagnosed with a brain tumor when we the fifth grade or so (we’re the same age). She and her parents and grandparents (my aunt and uncle) traveled between home and St. Jude’s for a while. Actually, she still goes back once a year to have tests run to make sure that everything’s still alright. So I know that they do good work. Even without that, just look at the survival rates. Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), one of the more common childhood cancers, now has a 94% survival rate as opposed to just 4% in the early 60s. Bottom line, good cause and I said yes.
We didn’t start planning until my friend came back from her month abroad. It really wasn’t too bad. It was a bit weird though because usually when a fundraiser is put on for a big organization or charity, it’s put on by a group of some sort not two teenage girls. Getting the word out was fairly simple. I sent an email to our local radio station and they began announcing it on the air. I’ll tell you, it felt so surreal when we heard it on the radio the first time. Then we also made an event page on facebook and just invited everyone on our friends list (easier to do than going through and sorting out who lives out of state and who doesn’t). And lastly, the weekend before the event, we made an announcement about it at our church. Trying to get a few businesses to donate on the other hand was a bit trickier. Not because they were against donating anything I think, but more because we would talk to the managers and just kind of say, “My friend and I…” It didn’t really sound official, like a group would. If Relay for Life were to try it for example, or even the Knights of Columbus from church, I feel like they’d have more immediate success. That’s not to say that I’m trying to bash Chick-fil-a or Donuts and More because I’m not. They were pretty nice and about it and very generous. I’m just saying that it felt a bit weak saying “My friend and I…” that’s all.
So, we’ve done all this planning and talked to various people and businesses and gotten food donated and borrowed chairs, tables, speakers, and a tent. We put a lot of effort, time, and energy into it and got up really early on the day of the fundraiser to make sure that everything was set up and ready to go in time. And….hardly anyone shows up. Seriously. Outside of our two families who helped us set up, I think maybe eleven people came the whole time. Can you see how I was disappointed now? Now, that’s not to say that we didn’t raise a good bit of money. Because we did really well in that department. Alyssa (my friend) and I set our goal for a thousand dollars and we raised a little over eight hundred overall. I guess I just would have liked to see more people actually come out to support the cause. I know that, in this case, money might technically be the more important thing because money is actually what the hospital needs and can use to cover costs and fund research but I guess I was just a little frustrated that it seemed that people would rather throw money at something instead of taking a little time out of their schedule to participate, regardless of what the cause is.
All of that aside, I’m really happy that Alyssa asked me to help. I know that holding one fundraiser or raising eight hundred dollars isn’t much in the long run but at least it’s something.