The Children’s Cancer Association’s (CCA) “One Day. One Friend.” is an annual, online, peer-to-peer fundraiser that helps fund matches for our award-winning Chemo Pal Mentor Program. This program provides children and teens with a caring, trusted, adult friend to look forward to during treatments, and someone in their corner when they need it most. This year, 22 Chemo Pal Mentors and CCA volunteers shared personal stories about their experiences with CCA and asked their friends and family to support a cause they care deeply about. Together, they raised over $20,000!
This year’s top fundraiser is an incredibly strong woman with a powerful story. Kerry Dwyer is a 36-year-old, loan servicing professional, originally from Eugene, OR, and has been involved with CCA since 2009. Her passion for supporting CCA stems from her family’s firsthand experience with cancer. Kerry’s father was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer when she was just six years old and died after an eight-year battle with the disease.
“For as long as I can remember, my goal in life has been to improve the lives of kids with cancer by either making their last days special or by helping brighten their outlook in some way for the better,” shared Kerry. After hearing about CCA on the radio during our Valentine’s Day event, Kerry excitedly explored CCA’s website to learn more about how to get involved. Since 2009, Kerry has been matched with three incredible kids through the Chemo Pal Mentor Program and has participated in the “One Day. One Friend.” fundraiser for two years in a row. This year, her fundraising efforts were in honor of her last Chemo Pal, Nick, who sadly died in February at the age of four.
Memories of Nick
When Kerry was paired with two-year-old Nick on July 1, 2015, she recalls loving him immediately. “Nick’s smile and sweet voice filled my heart as soon as I walked through the door. On the day we met, he grabbed my hand to have me sit, and we pulled out all the toys in my Chemo Pal bag. I have many great memories of Nick that I will always cherish. He was so happy all the time, you would never have known he was sick,” said Kerry.
One of Kerry’s favorite memories with Nick was during a trip outside of the hospital, when Kerry’s family invited Nick to a special gathering. “I got a workout pushing him in a floaty around the pool, and the best part was hearing him laugh. He laughed the entire time, more so than I ever heard in the hospital,” remembers Kerry.
Bringing Joy to More Kids
When Kerry signed up for “One Day. One Friend.” this year she was incredibly inspired by the impact Nick and his family had on her life. “It was so meaningful for me to be able to share my memories of my Dad, and Nick. Having the opportunity to share and educate others about the work CCA does means so much to me. I love that CCA is a local organization helping kids right here in our community. I have seen the impact on the lives of the kids we serve first hand,” said Kerry.
The response to Kerry’s “One Day. One Friend.” campaign both surprised and warmed her heart. Raising a total of $4,550 and Kerry now holds the title of “Top One Day. One Friend. Fundraiser of All Time!” Best of all, she shared that her time spent as a Chemo Pal Mentor for CCA helped her achieve her own lifetime goal of making a difference in the life of a child with cancer…not once, or twice, but THREE times.
You Can Help Too
We are incredibly grateful for passionate supporters like Kerry. Because of amazing people like her, we are able to bring joy to even more kids, teens, and their families facing cancer and other serious illnesses. There’s always more work to be done, so please consider getting involved today.