By Teen Smarty, Abbey Rogers
In the fall of 2011, as a sophomore in the International Baccalaureate program at Myers Park High School, I was assigned a personal project. This project allowed each student to research and create a producton the topic of their choice. For my project, I wanted to do something that would make a difference so I decided to plan and start an annual Cookies for Kids’ Cancer 5K Race in Charlotte, NC.
Why Cookies for Kids Cancer? In 2007, Grier Christenbury, age 2 1/2 was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma. Since his diagnosis, Grier and his family fight hard every day to battle this terrible cancer. As a family friend, I have watched he and his family fight his cancer each day. I am passionate about doing what I can to help raise awareness and find a cure for pediatric cancer so other families do not have to endure this difficult circumstance. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a 501(c)3 non profit, was founded by parents inspired by their son’s battle with cancer. They were shocked to learn that the main reason over 25% of kids diagnosed with cancer do not survive is because of a lack of effective therapies. And the reason for the lack of therapies was very simple: lack of funding. They pledged to support the development of new and better treatments by giving people a simple way to get involved. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer was born in 2008 and since that time has raised millions for pediatric cancer research.
This process has been everything but what I expected. Needless to say, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into when I came up with this idea in September. I thought it would be easy and something I could just do on my own, but that was the farthest from the truth. This event definitely would not be possible without all of the help I’ve received from a bunch of incredible people. My mom has been in this with me since day 1. She has been incredibly supportive and has gone above and beyond to make sure this event is a success. Amy Christenbury has also been the same way- she is truly passionate about CFKC and has been so wonderful to work with. I’ve learned firsthand that if you want to pull off anything worthwhile, it really does take a village. It is critical to divide and conquer if you want to get anything done – you can’t do it alone. Also, connections and your network are everything. For instance, my family always makes fun of my mom for being that person that strikes up a conversation with anyone in a store. But it turns out that all of the “connections” she had with these businesses really came in handy when we went searching for potential sponsors.
I was also surprised at the reaction I received from people when I told them about this event. I am amazed at the support and generosity my community has provided. I have such incredible friends and family who have been willing to step up to provide their time, resources and support. I am beyond grateful for everything they have done, and absolutely blessed to have them in my life.
I was probably most intimidated by the task of gaining sponsors to help fund and offset the fixed expenses of the event. Yet again, I have been overwhelmed at how generous many of our local businesses have been. We are so fortunate to have had a lot of interest and support from businesses and groups that also believed that together we can make a difference in the life of children with cancer. My hope is that their investment will benefit them as much as it benefitted us.
A great big thank you to the following businesses:
ChickFilA at Cotswold
Blue Ridge Graphics
Katie Emmons Design
Carolina Sports Clinic
Trendy Treats by Johnnie
Infant Swimming Resources
Carolina Land Corporation
Rogers & Gala Creative Partners Inc.
Yama Asian Fusion
Cottingham Chalk Hayes (Becky McGrath)
Macaroni Kid National
To register or learn more about the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer 5K and Bake Sale, please visit our website: http://cookiesforkidscancer.racesonline.com/.