by Pat Kramer
A new generation of philanthropists has taken up the battle against cancer. Children, even some barely out of kindergarten, are mounting their own creative campaigns to raise money for City of Hope, according to the institution’s fundraising staff.
“The trend of children getting involved in fundraising is something that we are seeing more and more of,” said Colleen Robertson, assistant director of development in Donor Relations, who enjoys writing thank-you notes when children make donations. “While their individual donations may not be large, their combined efforts provide real support to our mission.
“More importantly, the inspiration these youngsters provide is worth its weight in gold because it empowers everyone to get involved and do something positive for others.”
Giovanna Nocera stands as just one inspirational example. She was only 3 years old when her mom, Concetta, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a blood cancer. After undergoing a successful stem cell transplant at City of Hope, Concetta Nocera regained her health, and now, three years later, mother and daughter are making beaded bracelets to raise money for cancer research, treatment and education.
“The bracelets, which we named Hope Beads, are made from glass and plastic beads with the word ‘HOPE’ in beaded letters,” said the older Nocera. “Giovanna was very enthusiastic about doing something to help City of Hope after my treatment.”
As of late November, she had raised $135 through sales of the $6 bracelets to friends. Even her physician, Stephen Forman, M.D., the Francis and Kathleen McNamara Distinguished Chair in Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation and chair of the Division of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation, has been impressed with the effort. “The bracelets are not only a creative way to raise funds, but they also give a sense of the hope that is so important to patients undergoing transplants. I am honored to wear one that she made for me, too,” Forman said.
Recently, five other donations arrived at Donor Relations from local children wanting to make a difference, Robertson said.
Camilla Higgins, 9, and Elizabeth van Hiel, 10, both used traditional sidewalk lemonade stands to raise money, donating $20 to City of Hope. Meanwhile, 10-year-old Jacob Dababneh, who donated $138 he had saved from his weekly allowance, was motivated to help kids with cancer. Along with his donation, the fifth-grader sent drawings for kids in the pediatrics unit.
Other children have used their natural talents to raise funds. The Larkin sisters — Theresa, 13, and Yvonne, 11 — recently held a Downey, Calif., backyard concert with friends Destanee Roberts and Aimee Sanzone, raising $200 for their impromptu performance. They wanted to help a family member who is a patient at City of Hope.
Children also get involved in activities such as Walk for Hope. Walking as a family, the Scheidemantles last year raised money for City of Hope in memory of a friend. Later, 16-year old Brooke Scheidemantle held a sidewalk bake sale raising another $100.
Then there are the Blue Dolphins. The American Youth Soccer Organization team of girls from Arcadia, Monrovia and Duarte, Calif., recently pledged $1 per goal for the season. Players collected $400, which they donated to City of Hope.
Finally, a local group of second-graders selling Girl Scout Cookies put the power of their treats behind City of Hope. In their first cookie sale, the 7- and 8-year olds from Pomona Brownie Troop #221 raised $1,100. The girls presented their check to Lawrence Wagman, M.D., director of the Liver Tumor Program, then enjoyed a walking tour of the Duarte, Calif., campus.
For more information on donating a gift, please visit us on the Web at www.cityofhope.org/donate or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To order Hope Beads, e-mail Concetta Nocera at email@example.com.