The weekend of October 13th, I traveled to New York City with my son and friend, Mary-Ellen, so that she and my sister, Sarah, could participate in the Avon 39 The Walk to End Breast Cancer. They walked 39 miles in two days- 26.2 the first day and 13.1 the next. It’s a lot of walking. You may think walking is no big deal, but the blisters on their feet tell a different story. However, the excitement of the event outweighed their pain and suffering.

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Even though they were stiff and sore by the end of the first day, they signed up to do it again next year. They will be walking in Boston, in June, 2018. Anyone want to join the #maggiesbrightside team? The NYC walk raised 7.6 million dollars in 2016 and that’s just one city. Avon sponsors the walk in Boston, Houston, Chicago, DC, San Francisco, and Santa Barbara. Additionally, some of the focus of their fundraising goes toward the needs of people living and thriving with Metastatic Breast Cancer. Metastatic Breast Cancer is grievously underfunded. Right now, only 2-5% of money raised for cancer research goes towards the study of metastatic breast cancer. We need more research and more funding, so we walk.

My husband, Jim is participating in the Real Men Wear Pink Campaign. He has been wearing pink every day in October to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The money he raises will be used on issues spread across prevention, early detection, research, and patient support. Jim has been so enthusiastic about wearing pink and even though I’m making fun of him because he’s not even in the top five for fundraising, he feels good about what he’s doing and looks good doing it!IMG_0567

I find fundraising tricky. It’s hard to figure out where the best place to put your money is. Will your money go to impact the things you care about? Is it worth it to even donate? Well, here’s how I feel about it in terms of cancer treatment: The world needs prevention services, research, patient and caregiver support, and much, much more. So, you just have to figure out where you want your money to go. If you’ve heard me speak, you know that early detection wasn’t something I could tap into. I didn’t have cancer, and then suddenly, I had stage 4 or metastatic breast cancer. My doctors say there was really no way for me to have known about this before I did, but what does matter to me are patient support and research, because those are the things that will make a difference in my world.

I also think fundraising for other cancer related things is totally great! Mary-Ellen has done multiple walks and runs for breast cancer and other cancers including the Avon 39, The Donna Marathon, and runs for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. My favorite fundraising place for Metastatic Breast Cancer is Metavivor and you can even sign up to the Amazon Smile program and donate to Metavivor Research and Support Inc every time you shop.

Obviously, I’m focused on cancer patient support so I’m fundraising a lot for Maggie’s Brightside Maggie Card. We have had 2 fundraisers now- a Calcutta that took place at the Moose Lodge in South Burlington and a donation yoga class held by sponsor SoulShine Power Yoga! I feel so fortunate that community members stepped up to organize and hold these Kickoff Fundraisers and together they have raised nearly $4,000 to help Maggie’s Brightside get off the ground! There will be more fundraisers to come, so don’t worry. And if you have an idea for one, I’m all ears.

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What I’m saying is, you don’t have to donate to everything you see. In fact, you should only donate to the things that are near and dear to your heart. Maggie’s Brightside will be posting about fundraising- sometimes for Maggie’s Brightside, sometimes for other organizations and charities that Maggie’s Brightside believes in. Donate only when and if it feels right for you. And if you want to join a super fun Avon 39 Team, I got you covered. Your support and presence are just as valuable as your donations.