I found out about a great local event – the Avon 39 Two Day Walk for Breast Cancer. The Avon 39 is a physically and emotionally challenging 39.3 miles. I had no problem with the physical portion. However, to walk in the walk, the members of my Nique Strong Team (6 of us total) had to raise $1800.00 per member, which came to $7200.00. My initial thoughts were “what have I gotten myself into?” I never really did much fundraising and what little fundraising I did usually fell short of my fundraising goals. When I was kid, I remember selling candy bars, spaghetti dinner tickets, and a working at few car washes here and there. But, this Avon 39 was a big time fundraising number, $7200. I have never felt comfortable asking people for money but if I was to get Nique Strong into this event, I would really need to put my failed fundraising ways in my past.
I started putting a plan together. I had approximately 9 weeks to raise the money. The walk is May 16 & 17th in Boston. I talked about doing tag day events at supermarkets and store chains. I mentioned my ideas to my neighbor. She informed me that I better book time at these local stores because some stores are booked months in advance. Wow, she was right.
I Googled the location of the many Stop & Shop Supermarkets, Shaw’s Supermarkets, and Walmarts in my surrounding communities and started to book as many events as I could. Within one week, I had every weekend booked except for two days. Well, that was the easy part. Again, that voice in my head was saying “what did I get myself into?”
Our fundraising started on March 13, 2014 on Bellevue Avenue in Newport, RI. It was the day before the famous St. Patricks Day parade and boy was it freezing cold. Terri has been my partner in crime through it all. We started with a small display, sold Nique Strong bracelets for $1.00/piece, accepted donations, and had an Easter raffle. Thinking the weather might warm up was positive, but Terri and I just kept adding layer after layer, freezing, so after about 3 hours, Terri brought out the St. Patricks Day hat and beads and dressed me up to attract more customers. It worked.
Every weekend since then we have been out fundraising in one form or another. We saw how successful we were with the raffle, and how it was exciting for people to take a chance, so we had another raffle for Tax Day, and currently have one running for Mothers Day. When the weather literally “blew us away”, we would pack up and call it a day. Cold didn’t stop us, but the wind was against us. Two occasions my business cards blew all over the parking lot, and our afternoon at Walmart in Dartmouth came to a screeching halt when our trinkets began to blow away as well.
As we ventured from location to location from Mass to RI, it wasn’t about asking for money anymore. As a two-time cancer survivor, it was about the journey and how I could be a good sounding board for others. There were people that have come to our table and shared their cancer story, whether it was as a family member, a patient, or a survivor. Through my website (www.niquewear.com) and my Facebook journals entitled Breast Cancer & Nique, I want my fellow cancer battlers and survivors to know that I am really a strong resource and support person for their issues with cancer. The stories that we shared amongst each other were powerful, uplifting, and emotional. Many people have been touched by cancer, in one aspect or another.
Our fundraising events have become much more to me and Terri. They are truly about education and comfort and laughter and tears. The fundraising and asking for money part has become secondary. Sure, we still need to raise money for Nique-Strong. But, I truly believe we have achieved a high level of success and satisfaction in this Avon 39 Fundraiser effort, regardless of whether we reached our intended goal or not.
To date Team Nique Strong has collected approximately $4,342.00. So far Lina and I are the only ones walking, but with three weeks left and less than $3000.00 to go we might do this.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us in one way or another. And, if you would like to donate to Nique-Strong in support of the Avon 39 Walk, contact me through my website – www.niquewear.com.