“What if it’s the $10,000 I raise this year that helps fund the grant that moves us that much closer to a cure? I can’t let myself stop!”
We’d like to introduce you to the latest member of the Impact level of our Lifetime Commitment Circle. This exclusive honor is bestowed on those who have reached an incredible fundraising milestone—raising $250,000 for the 3-Day. And she’s raised even more for other cancer organizations! We asked Julie to answer a few questions so we could learn more about how she achieved her fundraising success.
How did you get involved with the 3-Day?
It all started in 2005 when I was an associate brand manager on the MOTRIN® IB Brand, which was a national sponsor of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. I was asked as a sponsor to speak at the Philadelphia event that year, and I didn’t want to do so unless I was out there raising money and walking alongside the people to whom I’d be speaking.
And once I started fundraising, I learned just how many people have been impacted by breast cancer—my friend’s mom, another friend’s aunt, my colleague, and more—and it became important to me that I continue to do my part. Since that time, I lost my father to pancreatic cancer (2008) and my close friend, Mary, to breast cancer (2009), Vicki, my former colleague and current friend, lost her sister, Betsy. My dear friend, Libby, who I met during the Opening Ceremonies years ago and then walked with every year since, lost her mom. And I met Maryanne—an amazing friend and breast cancer survivor. It’s a lot! So, each year since 2005 I’ve walked and raised money. I walk honoring the memory of my friend, supporting the brave, triumphant battles of other friends, and honoring the memories, current battles, and success stories of friends and colleagues’ parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, sisters and brothers, and my friends and colleagues.
We all know raising money during a global pandemic isn’t easy, but how did you do it?
I’m lucky that after 16 years I have a loyal group of supporters! I raise money through email campaigns year-round and Facebook posts. This year I was sure to include language around it being a tough year with so many important efforts to support, and I know that others’ charitable giving priorities may not coincide with mine, and that’s OK. So, I give people an out. But for the most part, people have been willing to give year after year, including during a global pandemic.
What is your secret to raising so much money every year?
I ask EVERYONE I know. Friends, friends of friends, colleagues, ex-boyfriends, family, etc. I’m lucky that my sisters and some friends will share my Facebook posts with THEIR friends. I send initial requests, friendly reminders to “bring the email back up to the top of your inbox for those of you who like me got busy and the email got buried.” I let people know when I’m close to my goal(s), and I know some people like a deadline, so I send out a “3 days until the 3-Day” message at the very end. I always make my emails some combination of personal/touching and/or funny. Lastly, I make sure to send thank you’s, and some of my larger donors get more personalized emails.
What keeps you coming back to the 3-Day again and again?
I just love the pink bubble! I’ve met so many people over the 16 years, and it’s just like a big pink family. And, I love the quality time with my teammates. Also, once you’ve started raising money, I start to think I can’t stop now! If I don’t ask, who will garner this support from MY network? What if it’s the $10,000 I raise this year that helps fund the grant that moves us that much closer to a cure? It’s almost like I can’t let myself stop!
What are some of your top 3-Day memories from past years?
My favorite memory was year one, night two, in Philadelphia. We had just completed 40 miles and I thought I could not take one step more than I actually had to…but then came the dance party! I remember looking around at these amazing, empowered women, and a few brave men, and thinking to myself how awesome it felt to be dancing the night away, despite the 40 miles! Another favorite moment was year four or five when I was asked to carry the “my father” flag during the Opening Ceremony. My father had just died from pancreatic cancer. Other favorite moments were meeting my teammates along the route. I remember meeting Maryanne around mile 10 on day two; now she’s become one of my closest friends. And I remember when Maryanne and I picked up Libby, a solo walker, at the Opening Ceremony. She walked every mile with us that year and for four more years after that.
How do you live the 3-Day spirit and spread the word all year long?
As mentioned above, I’m sending fundraising emails and posting on Facebook nearly year-round. I send a thank you card (like a holiday card) with photos from the events I participate in, along with a personal note, each year after the 3-Day. I stay in touch with my 3-Day friends on Facebook. One year I was lucky enough to head to Komen Headquarters for the Commitment Club event. Additionally, when I think about “living the 3-Day spirit,” I also think of more generally “giving back” to the world. This year has provided ample opportunity to do so! I raised money and participated in events for other cancer-fighting organizations like Purple Stride for Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and running the Boston Marathon as part of the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge. I also fostered 13 different kittens since March while working from home (not all at the same time) and also had the (unfortunate) opportunity to donate convalescent plasma for those fighting COVID-19!
Now that you’ve raised $250,000, what’s the next goal you’ve got your eyes on?
It’s the same goal it’s always been—a world without breast cancer! And more money for the research and early detection that will save lives and/or extend the time people get to spend with friends and family. $250,000 is just a fun milestone along that journey! I suppose the next big milestone will be $500,000!
Tell us what the 3-Day means to you.
Friendship, hope, passion, commitment, perseverance, family, fun, emotional, rewarding. It’s too hard to sum up, but those are some good words off the top of my head.
Thank you, Julie, for your year-round dedication to the 3-Day and our mission to end breast cancer. We’re impressed by the amazing amount of money you’ve been able to raise, and we are looking forward to sharing many more 3-Day memories with you in the years to come.
Julie’s achievement will qualify her for the Impact level in the Lifetime Commitment Circle. She joins Loretta E., Kathy G., Liz G., Bert S., and Burt L. as Impact members at the $250,000 level.