Cancer research is a topic that I am very passionate about and have been for a very long time. I’ve been involved with the Canadian Cancer Society since 2017 but was a great supporter for cancer research long before that. My passion began when I started fundraising for my school’s annual Terry Fox run in elementary school, motivated by the fact that my mom had been diagnosed with cancer. My brother and I would ask family members for donations, and sometimes, I would go door-to-door to ask for donations from my neighbours. I’ve fundraised hundreds of dollars, possibly over a thousand, for cancer research up until now.
In grade 8, I signed up to volunteer for the Canadian Cancer Society, taking on opportunities in the annual Daffodil Campaign in April as well as one Neon Nights 5k run event. The Daffodil campaign is something I look forward to every April; my friend and I would volunteer over the weekend at a grocery store, selling daffodil pins for the Canadian Cancer Society. These experiences are always fun and interesting; we’ve met intriguing people and sometimes, we’ll see our friends and ask them for donations. It’s definitely an experience that everyone should try, whether it’s for the Canadian Cancer Society or for another charity! I’ve also brought the Daffodil campaign to my school in the past; in grade 8, I brought a box of daffodil pins provided by the organization to put in the office for staff and students to donate to. At the end of the month, my friend and I went from class to class, asking for donations, and we managed to raise a total of over $200, if I recall correctly. In grade 10, I was heavily involved with my school’s Cut Cancer group, also bringing a box of daffodil pins to be left in the office and for us to use during our fundraising activities and events through June. Cut Cancer was such an amazing team to be a part of with such great leaders who were really passionate and enthusiastic about what they were doing.
With Cut Cancer, we had initially planned to host a Relay for Life, but unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to plan it so we decided to host a relay on a smaller scale. I helped greatly with sponsorships, and I remember asking for donations from Indigo, Starbucks, Booster Juice, and plenty more, having little success aside from Indigo. I had also written a sponsorship request letter to Oakrun Farm bakery due to my connections to them, and it was one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made! Oakrun Farm, or otherwise known as Aryzta, donated 1300 baked goods, from giant cookies and brownies to plenty of muffins, and their donation definitely boosted our fundraising as people went nuts for them! Leading up to the event, we held raffles and games to get students engaged as well as to fundraise more, and one of the highlights of the raffle was getting a signed jersey from the Toronto Raptors for it! Alongside this, we encouraged students to build teams to fundraise on their own, and the team with the most money would win a prize. Another friend of mine and I were a team, and together, we raised about $500! Overall, Cut Cancer was a massive success as we raised about $4500! Our school was full of spirit, which we heavily lack on a normal basis, and it was amazing to be part of a team that raised so much to make a difference.
Unfortunately, this year, due to COVID-19, the Daffodil campaign could not host in-person fundraising, and I don’t think Cut Cancer will be happening since school is facing an uncertain fate. The Daffodil campaign raises lots of money for the Canadian Cancer Society, and right now, COVID-19 can be very stressful for Canadians diagnosed with cancer who are more susceptible to the dangers of COVID-19, but the Canadian Cancer Society has supports and information during this time for them (I suggest checking their website for more info at https://www.cancer.ca). With that being said, I decided to host a virtual fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society! As part of the fundraiser, my brother and I designed wallpapers, each bearing the message “Hope” which I “hope” will brighten everyone’s days when they look at their phones. Hope is something that is near and dear to me, and it helped me get through a tough time; I think that everybody, especially Canadians diagnosed with cancer, needs it now. You can find the wallpapers, free to use, on my fundraising page, and if you’re able to donate, I encourage you to, and please, share this with friends and family! https://support.cancer.ca/site/TR/IFE_ON_Event/IFE_ON_General_?px=7112669&pg=personal &fr_id=27159.
I think that it’s really important that everyone finds a cause that they’re passionate about; it feels really great to make a difference, and through these experiences, you get to meet new people, make many memories, and learn and grow along the way. I hope that this article inspires you to support something important to you, that it has provided you with some fundraising tips or ideas, and that it inspires you to take risks, like my shot in the dark with asking for a donation that turned out to be a massive success and is now a connection I reach out to often. While I’ve supported cancer research, I feel that my efforts to do so have supported and benefitted me as well.
-- Written by Leanne Tran