Another inspiring part of our Kids Helping Kids series. This story, as told by mom, Lisa Chasin about her daughter Samara’s quest to make a difference.
Samara and I were watching our Girls 12 and under tennis team (Dunmoor subdivision) play the Horseshoe Bend tennis team in the beginning of November. Madie Dreesman was watching her younger sister play a match. Madie was wearing a bandanna on her head and it was obvious she had lost her hair to some sort of cancer treatment. We spent some time speaking with Madie, her mom and grandparents who were visiting from out of town.When we left the match and were in the car I noticed Samara’s eyes were welling up with tears. When I asked her what was wrong she asked me about the girl with the bandanna on her head. I tried to explain that she was sick, had cancer and was going through treatment, most likely chemotherapy. This opened the flood gates to many, many questions about how do people get cancer, how is it treated, is there a cure, etc., etc.
When I suggested we do a fundraiser to raise money for a camp for children who are sick Samara emphatically responded that she thought it was more important to find a cure. And that is how it all began.
When I was looking for people to help blast emails to publicize the event my friend Cindy Tromer said that her daughter Shelby was looking for a “Mitzvah Project” to do and that she would probably like to take this on. In case you’re not familiar, when Jewish children prepare for their Bat (a girl) or Bar (a boy) Mitzvah they typically create a project that involves community service (mitzvah means “good deed”).
The Tromer family and my family spent a month doing book drives, collecting books from a number of subdivisions, girl scout troops and from anyone we could think of. Deb Dreesman, Madie’s mom, got involved as well and did her own book drive.
Throughout the month of collecting we were sorting the books into categories. Then came the publicizing and advertising for the sale. We took out ads in the four local papers, created and put out signs in the major intersections surrounding the sale, blasted emails to neighborhoods, friends, family, and anyone we could think of, posted fliers in local businesses and schools and much more!
The day before the sale we recruited many volunteers to help load a caravan of cars/suv’s with boxes of books from both of our houses and unloaded them at the clubhouse in my neighborhood, Dunmoor, for the sale. More volunteers joined us to further sort the boxes, set up for the sale and then work the sale the next day. Many children and adults were involved. All were proud to help and it was a great experience for everyone.
In addition to the sale my neighbor, Melissa Murray, supplied the volunteers with t-shirts from her company, Double M Designs. The t-shirts had the words “celebrate” on the front and “life” on the back. We thought it would be helpful for shoppers to be able to easily identify the volunteers. Melissa sold these shirts as well as t-shirts with other positive statements (give-back, play-nice, etc.) and donated a portion of the proceeds to the fundraiser. When Madie showed up with her family we presented Madie with a “Celebrate Life” t-shirt as a thank you for inspiring us to have this great event.
It all lead up to a successful sale where we earned more than $2,000 benefiting CURE Childhood Cancer!