Monday, September 10, 2012

Fundraising...if I can do it, you can do it!

It's Monday morning, September 10, 2012. It's the morning after the San Francisco Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. Everyone is tired. The 1,200 walkers and crew raised a combined $2.4M in the fight against breast cancer.

I feel so lucky to be part of such an amazing event and more importantly with such amazing people. We must remember that a disease like breast cancer knows no sides. Breast cancer doesn't take sides, it takes everyone!

The other thing we need to remember is that a disease like breast cancer is "FULLY" funded. Breast cancer has unlimited resources...people! That's why it's so important to continue to raise money to fund awareness and preventative programs as well as research.

This weekend I was honored with an award for being the top crew fundraiser even though crew has no fundraising requirement. I raised $5,770 and by Sunday, I received $230 in donations to put me at $6,000. It was humbling in the sense that I just figured it was my commitment to do the best I could to raise money. However, after a little bit of thought, I decided that I should embrace this award as a way to set an example for others. So for anyone who thought it couldn't be done, let my experience speak otherwise. If anyone needs ideas, please reply and I would be more than happy to share my ideas!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Where's KISS?

Just before the end of June, I introduced the newest member of Drew's Crew to the world. KISS came to Boston and worked hard to make the event a success. You can check out photos on the Event Support Team page on Facebook.

Returning from Boston, KISS was really tired. It was a very exhausting for such a small bear and the emotions that were tied into the event made it mentally draining. So KISS went into hibernation.

However, I am happy to report that today, I was able to take KISS to the BeArport where she will travel to Reno, NV. There she will make herself a new home with her kindred spirit and my good friend, Kristin!

I can't think of better timing for KISS to make her way to Reno. In Kristin's latest post Rainbows and Butterflies, she has made some decisions in her life, which now include chemo to increase her survival chances.

I, along with many other of Kristin's friends admire her so much for her strength and positive attitude. It is my firm belief that a positive attitude is what helped my mom survive breast cancer. So again, it just seems appropriate timing for KISS to be on her way to Kristin, because, with KISS comes all the love and support poured into the search for KISS, the well wishes from Boston 3-Day Walkers and Crew, and hugs and kisses that we have bestowed upon KISS to give to Kristin.

Kristin, there are so many people who love you and will support you in the fight! You are the shining example of a PINK WARRIOR!!!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

What Do You Stand For?

I've managed to hold my tongue for quite a long time as I watched over the last several years at the polarization of the nation. The economy is in shambles, yet people will go to great lengths to impose their views on others either through the legal system or in public forums. One of my biggest peeves has been the polarization of people who are no longer supporting Susan G. Komen because of the mis-handling of the Planned Parenthood issue.

If you have been in a cave the last couple years, you would have missed how controversy started to brew about how Komen was sending fundraising dollars to Planned Parenthood for breast exams. Pro-Life supporters came out of the woodworks and lambasted Komen for the audacity to support Planned Parenthood. The organization drew so much flak that it pulled funding from Planned Parenthood and took away a channel for women to get screened for breast cancer.

This action of course got all the Pro-Choice supporters up in arms to the point where Komen reinstated the funding. Ultimately, it was a mis-step by Komen in how they handled communication and strategy, but the damage was done.

Now this year, as the 3-Day season gets under way, across the board, Komen is witnessing a downdraft in participation. Boston, which kicked off the season at the end of July, only saw ~1,000 walkers. Volume in prior years had been on the rise to about the 1,400 mark. The other 13 remaining events are seeing similar effects.

So what's happening? Well, walkers are making the choice not to walk based on their stance on abortion. Walkers who want to walk may not be getting the same amount of donations because their constituents are taking a stand based on theif beliefs about abortion.

I think this is a travesty, that people would allow their polarizing beliefs affect their will to fight an enemy WAY greater. Let's get some breast cancer facts straight people...

1. Breast Cancer doesn't care what you believe about abortion
2. Breast Cancer doesn't care if you are RICH or POOR
3. Breast Cancer doesn't care if you are a woman or man
4. Breast Cancer doesn't care about YOU!!!!!

The bottom line is that years ago, a woman made a promise to her dying sister. And I truly believe that the Komen organization cares only about one thing...the erradication of breast cancer.

So the next time someone asks you to donate for the sake of womens' health and the end of breast cancer and you reflect on the Planned Parenthood debacle, ask yourself this question...

Are you pro-life, pro-choice, or PRO-HEALTH?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Today is a special day. 3-Day friends and ohanas (family) from around the country are preparing to descend upon the Boston area to kick off the 2012 Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure season. This year, I have managed to bring together some friends and ohana to join me in the first event of the year. This is also a special year. Earlier this year I was saddened to learn that my good friend was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time. She was supposed to make the trek to Boston. Instead, she was scheduled for surgery and is currently convalescing at home. You can read her story here at Rainbows and Butterflies.

In her absence, we needed to find someone to her place. I elicited the help of another good friend who works in HR (Human Resources) at Qualcomm. Together, we put our heads to work and searched for a worthy candidate. This was not an easy task. The replacement had to have the qualities of our friend; warm, friendly, great smile, and hard working.

After a nationwide, online search, we found our candidate. This representative fit the bill well. It gives me great pleasure to introduce the newest member to the 3-Day crew and specifically the Event Support team for Boston, please welcome KISS!!!!!!

KISS comes from a long line of caring and warm Build-A-Bears. Her experience consists of giving lots of love, bringing joy to a room, and brightening even the best of days. KISS gets her namesake from our dear friend...

Kristin "I Survived" Szabo!

You can follow KISS throughtout her Boston journey at the 2012 Event Support facebook page.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Baking to appeal to Fashionistas

So the next chapter in the baking story comes from an idea that my sister had based on my comment about how many folks at work seem to have fashion sense. Thus came about the high heel cupcake idea.
Having done the bake goods, I thought I had a good audience. However, cupcakes are sweeter and it came with a price tag of $5 vs. free and optional donation. While I don't think the cupcakes were as succesful, I still raised about $50 from 9 cupcakes. Yes that means some donated more than the $5. Interestingly enough, I have received comments about how much of a conversation piece they were and even got an email request for a future event. All in all, it was a lot of work. Maybe next time I'll have my sister do the mini-cupcakes.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Bake Sale Makes Dough (part deux)

I'm truly amazed at the generosity of people. Yesterday I blogged that after a day of effortless fundraising (all I did was set it out), I raised $29. What I didn't know was that after I left work, other folks came looking for the goodies and even though they didn't find any, they found my dedication box and put in another $25!!! Then this morning my colleague walked over and dropped in an undisclosed amount and made a dedication, stating, "no cookie needed." I'm definitely need to make more cookies!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bake Sale Makes Dough!

So I tried something new in terms of fundraising. July 4th was spent with family and my sister and oldest daughter helped bake and decorate a dedication box.
I brought both items and set up a small sign to tell my story of why I fight. I figured it was worth trying out on a smaller audience given that today was the day after a major holiday and many folks would be out. I was amazed at the results. In just a short day, many of the baked goods were gone, I had dedications on the box, and inside was a whopping $29! I can only imagine what might happen if I made more and put it out on a day where everyone was in the office. Plus, I can possibly attempt this on 4 other floors!

If you think fundraising is hard, just put in a little effort. You might be surprised at the results!

Note to self, chocolate chip cookies and brownies = good. Peanut butter cookies = not so good.

Breast Cancer is tough, but we're tougher!

A few weeks ago, I found myself doing something I haven't done in a while...cry. As I reflected on this for the next few days, I pondered what kind of cry was it?

First, why was I crying? Well, I had just learned that my good friend was diagnosed with breast cancer for the 2nd time. As we talked on the phone, I found myself choked up from the shock that breast cancer had hit close, again.

Her story is reflected in her blog here...

So what kind of cry was it? Well...

It started as a cry of helplessness, the feeling that there was little I could do to help my friend.

Then in morphed into a cry of remembrance, reflecting on the days when my own mother battled breast cancer and remembering friends and their pain as they lost loved ones.

Quickly, it turned into a cry of anger. Why is breast cancer still here? Where is the sense of fairness that it strikes where the light shines brightest?

Finally, my cry settled...not that it stopped, but it became a LOUD and ECHOING battle cry!

And so I will continue to cry and more importantly, I will continue to cry out, Breast Cancer, your days are numbered and you will not prevail.

And to Kristin, my dear friend, my battle cries this year will be dedicated to you!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Recognition is nice, but I don't want to be doing this forever

Every year that I crew another Komen event, I often reflect why am I doing another event?  As much fun as I have every time, there are several moments whether during planning, on event, or post-reflection where I just question why we have not found a cure.  Sure it's great to receive recognition that you have the Crew Power Team or that you have raised $5,000.  However, we're were only supposed to be in this "until there's a cure."  I think a lot of folks would agree that it's long overdue.  And while some would argue that vanity drugs support the rest of the industry, I truly wonder why a cure for cancer hasn't been found given the amount of scientific talent around the world.  SO until then, I WILL continue the fight.  I WILL continue to fundraise.  I WILL continue to work on behalf of women and men who will face this disease, because everyone does deserve a lifetime.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fundraising is in full swing! Boston starts at the end of July and I would love to have 5 people today donate $10 each to help end breast cancer!

Every dollar counts in saving someone's life.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Don't Judge a Charity by Its Expense Ratio

There is only a few months until July when 3-Day season kicks off with Boston! As I prepare for the event, getting rosters, calling the team, scheduling flights, I came across an article today that fits the way I feel about charities in general, but also about the way people think. The gist of the article is about the common measure by which people judge charities and ultimately contribute to. The popular measure is the percentage of adminstrative costs or expenses in relationship to how much goes to the cause.

I can see where this can be a problem. We've probably all heard the stories of how much Girl Scout cookies cost and how much actually goes back to the troops. We see stories in the paper about the high compensation of CEOs and executives while the average American struggles to make ends meet. We use past experiences as our guidelines to make snap judgements, which the article refers to a study about how the brain thinks.

Basically, our brains have 2 ways of thinking. The first way is the easy way, we look something over and using our past experiences we make a judgement call. The second way is a lot harder where there is actually an analytical side to handle complex issues. The problem is that it takes work and the brain natually shifts to the easy way.

So think about this. If Apple, the world's most valuable company right now, had an expense ratio of 20%, would you say that it is being mis-managed? How would you tell? You might respond that it takes more than that to assess if the company is not living up to its shareholders, such as stock price, debt to equity, sales turnover, new product successes, etc.

Then should a charity only be judge by one measure?

Check out the story The worst way to judge a charity

Monday, April 9, 2012

First two crew assignments, it's official

Great news coming in the last week. My first two crew assignments are confirmed! Batting first, Boston, where I will lead Pit 2. Catch me and my good friend Elle Peji in July!

San Francisco comes in September and I will be Camp Logistics captain! Woot woot! I'll be teaming up with more friends, Stephanie McGinty, Camp Coach and again with Elle Peji!

San Diego is still out ways, but more to come on that assignment.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Going for 3 with 3 Day!

Well, the 2012 season is in preparation and will kick off in July. Over the last several years, I have attempted but never succeeded in attending 3 events in one year. For one reason or another, something has prevented me from reaching that goal. This year, I am determined to make 3 events.

It will start with a return to Boston, where I crewed in 2007. Boy was it HOT! After a couple months, I'll return to the SF 3-Day, right in my backyard. To round out the year, I'll hit San Diego in November which has moved up a week, hopefully to take advantage of any remaining good weather.

As for assignments, having experienced leading Youth Corps last year in AZ, I am looking forward to repeating in San Diego. You can catch me and my good friend Elle Peji at Pit 2 in Boston and it is my expectation to lead Camp Logistics again in SF.

The captain meetings are already happening for Boston, my hotel is booked, and I just need to find a reasonably priced flight. I can't wait to get back to 3-Day where we believe it's the way the world ought to be.

Please support the fight by donating today! It's estimated that in 2012, there will be 226,870 new cases of invasive breast cancer and almost 40,000 deaths from breast cancer.