Since 2009, Meg McElroy has been raising awareness and funds for Children’s Cancer Research Fund (CCRF). Meg is an 8th grade English teacher and leader within the local teachers’ union. She lives in Queens, NY where she has many hobbies including reading, going for hikes and fundraising!
Meg came across CCRF when she was looking for an organization that she could believe in and needed help. Passionate about supporting healthier childhoods, Meg wanted to make a difference and help close the gap when she learned research for childhood cancers is vastly underfunded by the federal government.
It all started as an “accidental fundraiser.” Meg wanted to host an annual holiday party to keep college friends coming together and include new friends she made along the way. When the party outgrew her small NYC apartment, she decided to turn the event into a party with a purpose. Instead of exchanging gifts like she and her friends always had, she asked everyone that was invited to contribute ten dollars. Even strangers that heard Meg was fundraising donated and the first party raised $1,000!
Meg works very hard to make these gatherings happen and she includes her college friends, a mix of family, other friends, colleagues, and temporary strangers. Her goal is to get as many individuals together as possible to join the annual celebration. Unfortunately, the holiday party tradition was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it made a comeback in full force in 2022 raising an incredible $23,000!
Fundraising is not as easy as it seems, it requires a lot of planning, networking, and executing, but without the donors it would be challenging to reach a specific goal. When it comes to asking for support whether from family or friends, it can sometimes be uncomfortable. Meg gave us some helpful tips to make it easier. She said, “Find something you feel a passion for and simplify your message - while I set a goal each year, I make sure the message is clear: We are funding the hope for happier, healthier childhoods. I acknowledge and celebrate all donations, which range from $10 to my highest of $2,000. I try to create anticipation and excitement around the fundraiser, using Give to the Max Day as my main fundraising day.”
Meg also gave some great advice for anyone who wants to start their own fundraiser: “Don’t be afraid to set what feels like an unattainable goal, even if you just keep it to yourself. There is no failure in fundraising (a mantra I repeat on a loop throughout my fundraising season). Use what you have. Don’t be afraid to have uncomfortable conversations with any connections you may have (or please pass on their contact info to me!) - you’ll be surprised by how much people want to help if they’re shown how they can and just how big of an impact they have. Tell people what it means to you. It’s not necessary to be personally affected by childhood cancer to know more needs to be done and no family should suffer through these diagnoses. Make your donors a part of the process. If using social media, make your posts shareable and ask your friends to promote this great opportunity to affect change.”
It has been over 14 years since Meg first started fundraising for CCRF and so far, has raised an amazing $178,804 for childhood cancer research. She hopes her fundraising helps provide better, safer, and less difficult treatment options for children with cancer. Her hope is to also make it possible for families to have the support they need, not only through treatment options, but in community support. Meg continues to support CCRF because in her words: “It is rare to feel like you are doing more than throwing money over the wall when donating to most organizations; the consistent and thorough updates from CCRF allow you to see just how these amazing minds are able to organize and execute on the programs, research and progress they envision and can make a reality with our help”.
On behalf of Children’s Cancer Research Fund, a big thank you to Meg and her community of supporters. Because of her fundraising, we are closer to ending childhood cancer as we know it.
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Kids fighting cancer go through a lot, but you can make their treatments easier and more effective. Your donation will fund groundbreaking research that makes better, safer treatments possible for children and teens fighting cancer,