Living with the loss of a loved one is an incredibly hard thing. Even though there are countless books with ideas about how to move forward, I have found there really is no “one size fits all” approach to living life again after a loss of such magnitude.
We lost my only daughter, Olivia, to brain cancer when she was just a baby in October 2013. Even though she had been battling cancer for nearly a year and a half there was still nothing to prepare me for the magnitude of losing her so quickly and then for learning how to live life again without her.
This year will mark 9 years since I said goodbye to my little girl. The grief still hits me hard, and often, but there are some things I have learned about how to live with the magnitude of her loss. Here are a few of them:
1. Live With Their Memory In A Way That Is Comfortable For You & Your Family
I have developed friendships with many other mothers who have lost their children and what I have learned is there is no one size fits all approach to living with the memory of your child. You have to find what is comfortable for you! For instance, I find it comforting to know where Olivia’s clothes and belongings are in my home, but I can’t be surrounded by them either. That would be too much for me to bear on a daily basis.
We also have a few pictures of Olivia in our home that are visible, but we also have many more pictures of our family today. Living with too much of a reminder of all that we’ve lost would be way too hard for all of us, and it wouldn’t be fair to my living children and the memories we are making together today. I want my boys to know that while I miss their sister tremendously and think about her every day, I am equally as happy they are alive and I enjoy each moment with them.
2. Few People Will Understand Your Loss - Be Prepared To Educate Them
Thankfully the majority of our population won’t have to know the tremendous devastation that comes from losing a child. It’s a club that no one wants to join, but if you do, you will also find it is filled with the most compassionate and amazing people. For those who haven’t experienced this kind of loss though, there are some who will say things that are insensitive or unkind. Usually these comments come from a lack of understanding however, and not because they mean to be malicious in any way, so if you can, be willing to educate them.
For example, I’ve had people tell me I was lucky Olivia made it to 20 months. That was easier than if she had died at birth because “at least I had the chance to know her.” I’ve had others who have assumed that because I run a nonprofit in Olivia’s memory I must live my entire life with nothing but her on my brain, which “must be so hard for my other children.” These comments are just two examples of countless comments I’ve gotten from people who didn’t intend to be hurtful, they just didn’t understand. And how could they when they haven’t walked through this same path!
I could get angry, but instead I choose to educate. I’ve explained that all losses of children are incredibly hard, regardless of their age or the circumstances surrounding their loss. There is no “at least” when you’ve lost a child - there’s just the loss and the need for support and remembrance of that precious life.
I’ve also explained that while my work life is absolutely dedicated to Olivia’s memory and my work here at OCF has given me the ability to keep being her mom in a very tangible way, my home life is different. My family and I talk about her, we remember her, we love her, and we process our grief together when needed, but we also spend far more time choosing to focus on our family now. I want my kids to know that I love them just as much as I love their sister. They aren’t second-fiddle in my heart and I get great joy out of being their mama. It’s also important to me that they learn from my example of how to live with grief without letting it steal all of your joy.
3. Be Okay With Not Being Okay Sometimes -
The final piece of advice I want to share today is that it is perfectly okay to not be okay sometimes! I had always been the person who would keep it together no matter what for the sake of those around me and to guard my own heart. I would stuff and stuff my own grief partly because I had to be strong for the rest of my family, but also because I was worried that actually feeling the fullness of my grief would do me in.
I went to counseling a few years after Olivia’s death and my counselor told me something that still sticks with me today… “Katie, you have to learn to be okay with not being okay sometimes.” She also told me that on the days when I am not okay I had to learn how to let myself feel it, process the emotions, and then take care of myself to get through it. That was super hard to learn how to do! But I will tell you that doing it changed my life and my ability to deal with this tremendous loss.
At first, feeling that grief was debilitating. For those first months I spent many a day in a dark hole where I would cry and live in my pajamas because it was hard to do just about anything. Sometimes I would have a few days like that in a row or several in a month, but each time I would diligently allow myself to work through it. And then before I knew it I realized that I was having less of them, and when I did have a day like that it didn’t take me as long to recover because I knew what my heart needed to get through it.
Find out what you need when you aren’t okay. It could be a good cry in a bubble bath or a long walk. It could be curling up in bed under a heavy blanket alone or it could be time spent processing with a loved one. Just figure out what it is for you and know there isn’t a right answer and each bout with grief might require something a little bit different. It just needs to be something that is safe and that helps you heal your heart little by little.
While we all long for specialized care to be fully accessible in every community in Wyoming, the reality is that travel is still more often than not a part of managing a child’s medical diagnosis. To some of us, this may be a new world to navigate. To others who are a little more seasoned, this is not necessarily “easy” but it has worked itself into family life to be part of the new normal. I would like to pass along a few tips and tricks that I’ve heard can make a real difference to make these drives - no matter how far or how often - more manageable.
#1: List It Out
For those of you who are not Type A, lists can sometimes feel more of a burden than a help. But hear me out, as this may help keep us Type B’s a little more in our laid-back-go-with-the-flow skin.
A packing list may seem obvious, but when life is already overwhelming, trying to keep everything in our busy minds may be asking a little too much of ourselves. It may take a few trips to hone in on the perfect packing list for your family, so that’s why it may be handy to keep the list on your phone. We all typically have our phones with us at all times and there are plenty of apps that can help organize us. I have come to appreciate Google Keeps as I can add others to the lists and we can all put our great ideas into it. Plus, if I think of something while I’m on the go, it’s right there in my purse or pocket for a quick edit. For those of us who like paper - I get it - write it out and stick it somewhere just as accessible. Or type out something in a doc and print it each time you need it! It can be very satisfying in a busy time to be able to check, cross, or full on scribble a line out that’s been completed!
#2: Home Away from Home
It is not easy to pack up your family and household necessities for an appointment (or 3), reach your destination and realize that you’ve landed in a neighborhood hotel that is not in your preferred sort of neighborhood! This is especially true when traveling to the bigger cities like Denver or Salt Lake for care. The cheapest or closest hotel may not always be the safest, cleanest or in general a star-worthy experience for your family in an already stressful trip. If you’re not sure about where a good place to stay is, ask those who know the area (other parents, hospital Navigators, groups that help with travel). I’d also be happy to help point you in some good directions!
Know you’re going to be there often? Get to know your new neighborhood. Find places to stay that have the amenities you will need access to (i.e. grocery stores with/out delivery services) while you are there. New to the game and not even sure what you may need? Don’t hesitate to reach out to that same group of people in the know for some tips. Again, I’d be happy to help you!
#3: Make it Memorable
Navigating through your child’s illness is incredibly hard for the entire family! And traveling for treatment only makes that harder. So why not make time for a little bit of fun as a family when you are traveling to make some memories? It doesn’t have to be anything big or fancy, but it is amazing what a quick trip to the zoo, trying a new ice cream shop, or discovering a new park can do for everyone’s spirits during a difficult time!
If this trip is going to be more regular and the child recognizes to their own degree the hardship of it, do not feel bad for wanting to add something positive to their memory bank and future expectations that there will be something to look forward to, as well. And you don’t have to tell your kid(s) - but that memory could be a huge breath of fresh air for you, too.
Even though it might feel like you are alone in this medical journey, I can assure you that you are not! Countless other families have traveled similar paths and would love to help you get connected and feel less alone. Ask other families who have gone through a similar path of miles to help care for their child. Ask the Navigators, nurses - anyone - in the hospital or clinic what they know about and would recommend. Let’s also be real about the expense. The medical bills are enough on their own to oftentimes warrant (if possible) second jobs to cover it all. Add to that the gas, wear and tear on a vehicle, hotels, meals, and everything else that can pop up while you’re not at home and all of sudden these trips - that you will take no matter what for the sake of your child - are eating away at savings at a rapid pace. Please ask for help - there are so many wonderful organizations in Wyoming that want to help families like you with gas cards, hotel and meal vouchers, etc. Don’t know how to find them? I can help! It’s an honor to work with so many of these groups and I would be so happy to connect you to the group(s) that fit your needs the best.
If you ever need anything along your child’s medical journey and aren’t sure where to turn, I would be so happy to walk a few miles with you. Give me a call at (307)333-1273, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, check out our website or find us on social media! Whatever is easiest for you, we’re here to help and cheer you on!
“How do you do it? If my child died I don’t think I could get out of bed again, let alone start a foundation.”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked some version of that question since I created the Olivia Caldwell Foundation in November 2013. Well meaning people marvel at the super-human strength I must have to be able to run a foundation in honor of my daughter after her death.
But I am going to let you in on a little secret… I am far from a superhero. I don’t have extra strength and her loss has been anything but “easy” on me.
I never got to have the “normal” experience of mothering my only daughter. From a scary, premature birth, to time in the NICU followed by months of supplemental oxygen, Olivia’s start to life wasn’t a simple one. And then just one week after losing her oxygen tank, Olivia was diagnosed with brain cancer at 4 months old.
And unsurprisingly, life after that diagnosis was anything but easy or normal. Our days were filled with a tremendous amount of love and many joy-filled moments, but they also came with a huge amount of doctors appointments, days in the hospital, medications, scans, anxiety, and fear. Cancer took everything that Olivia’s life should have been and ripped it up into a million little pieces.
I was her mother and I would have done anything to keep her alive and to make each moment she had as beautiful as possible; and so throughout the 20 months we had together, I was completely devoted to that little girl. I held her through every single chemo treatment and many nights were spent with her asleep in my arms. I learned how to access her mediport to give her fluids if needed, give her complex medications, and to become an advocate for her at absolutely every turn.
And then it all stopped without warning on October 22, 2013 when my little girl died pretty suddenly, and my whole world stopped spinning. Just 20 months of being Olivia's mother was never going to be enough.
I spent the first few days after her death in complete shock. I felt like I was floating out of my body because this couldn’t possibly be real. I had waited my whole life for a daughter of my own and then she was ripped from me before we even got to live our lives together.
But then one day I was praying in the shower, eyes nearly glued shut from all of the tears, when I knew what I was supposed to do. I was never supposed to stop being Olivia’s mommy when she died. I was being called to be her mommy in an entirely different way. And that was the day the Olivia Caldwell Foundation was born.
The steps to creating the foundation happened quickly, but running it over the years has been anything but easy. I miss my daughter with my entire being. Even nearly 8 years later there are times my entire soul aches for her and it is exceptionally hard to get out of bed in the morning. But what keeps me going is knowing that I get to spend every day still being Olivia’s mom; that role just looks different now.
Instead of spending my days at the hospital with my daughter or navigating through appointments, I spend my days fighting to ensure no other family has to go through those experiences alone thanks to our Patient Advocate. I also fight to bring better access to pediatric care in Wyoming so more families can receive the best care for their medically complex child without having to travel to Denver constantly.
I will also always fight with everything I have to make it possible so the next child that’s diagnosed with cancer doesn’t have to lose their life. As bittersweet as it is for me, Olivia’s legacy through OCF has already done just that for other children who receive the same brain cancer diagnosis she did. This happened when our research team identified an effective oral treatment a few years ago for that specific subtype of cancer.
So how did I do it? How did I have the strength to create a foundation so soon after my daughter’s death and to keep running it years later? To me there wasn’t really a choice not to. I didn’t choose to have my daughter get cancer or to have it take her life. But I will always choose to keep being her mom in whatever tangible way I can, and to make sure my daughter is never forgotten even though she only had a short 20 months to live here with me.
I had a realization last month as I was paying my bills… I hardly had any paper bills arriving in the mail. Over time so many companies have adopted the use of automatic deductions and frankly, I appreciate the convenience of it all. Many of my standard utility bills and even my mortgage are now conveniently being deducted from my account. Think about all of the things that we now subscribe to: Netflix, Disney+, Blue Apron, gym memberships- all conveniently charged to your checking account without any effort on your part.
The good news? The same can be achieved with nonprofit organizations. Most organizations have adopted this form of subscription giving so their donors can make a monthly contribution with the same ease as your Hulu subscription.
The benefits are twofold:
My husband and I went through the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University and the philosophy was to create a budget that allows you to pay off debt, save for the future and ultimately be able to give back like no other.
We were able to craft our monthly budget to allow a portion of our income to be donated to our church and charity of choice and to be able to do so month after month without feeling strapped for funds. For our income level, this helps us feel comfortable with being able to give more without having to write a big lump sum.
I highly recommend taking a look at your budget and seeing if you could reallocate some funds to be able to give back to your favorite organization. If you’re looking for a program to help you create a monthly budget that allows you to not only create more financial peace of mind but also be able to donate more consistently check out Every Dollar app (perk- it’s free).
Even if you can only afford $10 a month, which may not sound like a lot, over the course of a year that’s $120 and that can make a huge difference for a nonprofit!
Now time for my shameless plug: If you feel a tug at your heart to give consistently, the Olivia Caldwell Foundation has a Circle of Hope monthly subscription giving program. It’s all managed online- you pick the amount that works for your budget and can pause or cancel any time. When you donate monthly, you’re a part of a special community who is committed to saving more children by funding pediatric cancer research and sustaining the programs that support families of children battling cancer and other serious diseases in Wyoming and surrounding areas.
Caregivers are superheroes. If you are a caregiver, you know that it takes an incredible amount of time and energy to ensure that your loved one - no matter the age, children being no exception - has what they need to thrive!
But what about you?
It may seem a little backwards to think about taking care of yourself, especially if you have a child with medical needs, or even a little selfish. Shouldn’t we be talking about how to better care for your child?
If you want to be able to take the best care of your child who may be sick (chronic or short term), you need to be in the best shape you can be during this season. We all know this, but when things are a little overwhelming in your family, it can be hard to take the necessary steps to do what we know we need to do. Here are a few things to consider about yourself during this time.
It is critical to make sure that you, as the caregiver, are healthy. It is stressful and time consuming to care for your child. In order to make sure that your own health does not become a problem, block out some time for simple exercise (walking, swimming, 15 minute youtube fitness video). Are you eating well-rounded meals?
Along with the appropriate intake of protein, veggies, fruits, grains and healthy fats, keep track of how much water you are drinking. Put in your calendar a “wind down” time so that you can get the best sleep, even if it’s not the most sleep. Check in with your own doctor for routine visits and if possible, try to limit alcohol and avoid smoking or tobacco.
There is no doubt that stress is a part of your life. Some of the suggestions under the Physical category can help us deal with it and sometimes we need to focus a little more on how we feel. Slowing down to check in with ourselves can actually feel a little threatening - being busy looking after our child can keep us from dealing with our own emotions from the situation.
Do not be ashamed to cry! Tears are an incredible release. Go to coffee with a trusted friend or family member that you can process through what it’s like for you to have an ill child - build yourself some safe spaces to be honest, raw and real.
It is also ok to laugh. We may find a twinge of guilt start to come over us if we have a chance to do something fun while our loved one is in a difficult situation. Being able to keep our senses of humor in hard times can help alleviate stressful situations and maybe even bring a little health to our own bodies.
If it is just too much to bear on your own and you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone already in your circle, don’t be afraid to reach out to a counselor. They can do some amazing work in a safe, confidential space to help you process whatever is before you.
As a caregiver, there are a million and one things on your mind about your child. Sometimes it is necessary to be able to focus on something else to give your mind a break. What sort of hobbies do you have? It’s ok to take some time and do some of them. Summer is here and there is plenty of warm weather to garden, golf, hike, journal, paint, bike or even picnic! It will help you think more clearly about those million and one things for your child if you take the time for a mental break.
The world is full of ideas on spirituality and religion. If you have a particular faith, that may be another great avenue to find some strength to carry on. Take the time to go to a small group or service and explore if there are any nuggets of wisdom and hope that you can pass along to your child.
“You can’t pour from an empty cup”
We know that caring for a sick child is hard. We are so grateful that so many of these children have amazing parents who are putting it all on the line for them! We also believe that the whole family deserves care and support during their child’s illness. Finding healthy coping strategies to make sure you are taking care of yourself is going to play a key role in your child’s journey. If you’d like to talk more about self care options, give me a call at 307-333-1273 or send me an email- email@example.com. I’d be happy to listen to you and brainstorm some ideas that fit you!
I became a mom for the first time to twins at the ripe age of 24. Despite all the time I spent reading parenting books I was highly unprepared for the cards I was dealt during the early years with my first two children.
Within their first 6 months of life together, my babies and I would go through a scary birth, a month in the NICU, complications from prematurity, and ultimately a pediatric cancer diagnosis for my daughter. Those months were terrifying, isolating, and incredibly hard!
Through all of those scary early moments, impossible decisions, and all the heartbreak, I was blessed with an advocate in the form of our Best Beginnings Nurse, Candice. This angel on earth had originally been assigned to help us when we transitioned home from the NICU with weight and oxygen checks. But overtime, she also became the person who became a lifeline through the darkness that came with Olivia’s brain cancer diagnosis at 4 months old.
Before Olivia’s diagnosis, my mother’s intuition had been screaming loudly that something was wrong with my little girl. Candice thought the same, and came alongside me to advocate for my little girl. Just like me, she was calling my pediatrician’s office multiple times a week to check in about the concerning symptoms we were noticing. Ultimately, her pushing helped us get Olivia to Denver sooner than we might have so we could receive her diagnosis and treatment could begin.
Throughout all of the struggles with the health of my children, Candice was always there. She helped us get connected to resources that could help us manage the weight of the bills that were coming in steadily. She provided some home nursing care for us so we could limit the times we had to travel to another town to see our pediatrician. And she also gave me a safe space where I could let my guard down and talk a little bit about how hard all of it really was.
And then when we reached the end of Olivia’s life, Candice once again stepped in and acted as our hospice nurse, which enabled us to have our final moments at home together. To say I am grateful for this incredible woman is the understatement of a lifetime!
As more time has passed since those final moments with my daughter, I have had more time to reflect on what Candice’s friendship and advocacy meant to me. She was a friend during my darkest hour, and an advocate for all of us when life was at its hardest. Her friendship and advocacy made life more bearable during an unbearable time.
I feel strongly that every family needs a “Candice” when their child is diagnosed with a medical condition. And the desire to provide that to other families in Wyoming is what led us to partner with The Orr’s Hope Foundation to create a Patient Advocacy Program to provide that kind of support to children and their families who are battling through complex or chronic medical conditions.
The Patient Advocacy Program has been designed to connect Wyoming families with the resources they need to help them throughout their child’s medical journey regardless of their child’s diagnosis, family income level, etc. This is a FREE program and you will never be charged to receive our services.
Our Patient Advocate, Katelin, can provide support and connections to resources that assist with travel expenses, childcare, school accommodations, medical support, food assistance, counseling, and anything else a family needs throughout their child’s illness! Our philosophy is to provide WHOLE FAMILY CARE because the diagnosis is difficult for every person in the family!
It is our sincere hope that through the Patient Advocacy Program we can make days brighter for children and their families who are battling complex medical conditions. If you would like to learn more or to connect with this program, please call 307-333-1273 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In a world where technology is king, we can find ourselves becoming less and less connected with others while the prevalence of sharing the highlight reel becomes the norm. I think we could all use a little reminder that giving back and giving your time for others is good for the soul.
Volunteering is no longer that thing you were required to do in High School to meet your graduation requirements. Now, volunteering is a life-long opportunity that creates a deeper connection with your community and helps people live a more satisfying life.
Here are 4 reasons why volunteering is good for your soul:
1. Create new connections:
2. Become inspired:
3. Allows you to put your unique skills to work:
4. Helps you make a difference in your community.
Do some research on organizations in your community whose mission is meaningful to you and reach out to them about upcoming volunteer opportunities. You won’t be disappointed by the aftermath of your volunteered time- a deeper sense of self satisfaction, pride from doing some good for others, and confidence knowing you’ve done something to benefit your community. All good things for the soul.
Children are amazing when it comes to bouncing back! It’s almost as if they are meant to be a little tougher in order to make it to adulthood. And one of the biggest assets they have is YOU.
No matter what a child is going through, he or she needs to know that they are not in it alone. The strategies that you - Mom, Dad, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and friends - teach them now can not only help them through their current situation, but long into adulthood. So what are some of the things that can help them succeed, especially if they are dealing with an illness?
1. “Open Door Policy”
Allow your child to share with you whenever, however, and as often as needed. This will not only validate his or her experience, thoughts and/or feelings by having an adult take it all seriously, it will enable them to learn how to seek out help from others and build trust. It is also an excellent opportunity to help them navigate how to advocate for themselves.
2. “An Apple a Day…”
Nutrition is a buzzword that can create angst or enthusiasm in someone’s mind. Don’t worry - this is not an “eat this, don’t eat that” sort of guide. But what we eat does impact how we’re able to function - for better or for worse. When your child is sick, be sure to check with your doctor about what types of foods may help them with medication or treatment side effects; what may react poorly; and especially what can help them get an upper hand in staying healthier and building up their body’s systems as they continue to grow. Guiding healthier eating habits now will help them as they gain more independence in making those choices when you’re not around.
3. “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”
Spring is here and summer is quickly on its heels. Staying active and playing can be difficult during the summer - sickness or no sickness - and sunshine can be such an inviting call to help us all have a little more fun. Help your child find some new interests that are within his or her physical ability to manage with that illness. It can be exploration walks with magnifying glasses, fizzy volcanoes (made OUTDOORS to save our floors), or on days that are a little more draining - taking in some fresh air on the back steps. Fun is always good medicine and children with broad interests can find things to brighten even the cloudiest days!
Kids can be so imaginative and with some good guidance, they can come up with some pretty spectacular ways to cope with their difficult situations. Be sure to check in with them to understand their daily needs and have a few ideas to help prime the pump!
Need more ideas to help your child “just keep swimming?” Reach out to us at the Olivia Caldwell Foundation to visit with Katelin, our Patient Advocate. We love watching kids overcome!
This July will mark 9 years since my daughter, Olivia, was first diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer. These kinds of anniversaries are dispersed all throughout the year, with each one just as difficult as the others.
People have often asked me how I am able to keep going when I have to not only live with her loss each day, but talk about it daily due to my work at the Olivia Caldwell Foundation. My answer is always that if it wasn’t for my ability to keep her memory alive and have a tangible way to keep being her mom, there is no way I would have been able to survive the loss of my only daughter.
It also helps tremendously to know that my daughter is paving quite the legacy and making a huge difference in the lives of other children who are battling cancer!
In fact, because of Olivia, our research team has actually found the cure for the type of cancer that killed my own daughter! And they found that cure only a few years after Olivia passed away. That fact still amazes me, even though it’s also very bittersweet.
Because of my girl, other children with her same type of cancer will not only be able to survive their battle, but the entire treatment process and diagnosis looks completely different because of the work done by our research team.
When Olivia was diagnosed with cancer, she endured a surgical brain biopsy to determine the pathology of her tumor. Her biopsy came back as a Grade 2 astrocytoma, which meant she would receive two different high-intensity chemos in the hospital via IV chemotherapy. This chemo was delivered in the hospital for 3 days every third week with the chemo making her really nauseous and it made her lose all of her hair.
If she was diagnosed with cancer today she would still have a surgical biopsy, but would also have a blood test along with it, which would tell her team what the driving genetic mutation is that is causing her tumor to grow. Today, they would be able to tell that her tumor isn’t just a Grade 2 astrocytoma, but also that it is driven by the FGFR1 mutation (which caused her immune system to turn cold and ignore the cancer cells, allowing them to run wild).
And today, Olivia wouldn’t be treated in the hospital with an IV chemotherapy that would cause her to get sick and lose her hair. Instead, she would be treated at home with an oral chemo tablet, and her hair and appetite still fully intact!
How amazing is that?! And also how bittersweet is it that this cure and treatment transformation came about 5 years too late to save my little girl?
This is why we press on and work as hard as we do at the Olivia Caldwell Foundation. We strive each day to honor the life of Olivia and to ensure that other kids don’t have to meet a similar fate.
Thank you for all of your continued support! You are saving lives and giving children a hope for a better and healthier future like never before.
It’s not a new concept that nonprofits depend on the generosity of others. Whether it be volunteer hours, small donations, monthly recurring donations, large corporate donors, volunteer board members, endowments, and the list goes on.
Here at the Olivia Caldwell Foundation we are no different. As a small staff of four we can only achieve so much on our own. We are so grateful for all of our volunteers and donors that make our mission come to fruition. Together, we have been able to donate over a half a million dollars to pediatric research teams leading to the discovery of new treatment methods and cures for specific cancers. We have been able to help numerous families of children battling serious illnesses during their stressful medical journey at no cost. AND we bring specialty care to chronically ill children in Wyoming to reduce the amount of time spent traveling to Colorado. Those are no small feats and it was only possible because of our amazing community.
However, there is more work to be done and you may be wondering how you can make a greater impact. You want to help fight for a cure, you want to make sure children battling cancer have the best chance at survival with minimal side effects, you want to make sure every family is supported so there are less family life interruptions. But you’re only one person and can only give so much, right? So how can you help beyond the transactional donation?
Introducing the concept of Peer To Peer Fundraising (P2P). You may have heard of the infamous Ice Bucket Challenge a few years ago; it was an activity involving pouring a bucket of ice water over your head to promote awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and encourage donations to research. It went viral as people challenged their network of friends to participate. It became a multimillion dollar fundraiser.
Now, the concept of creating a viral challenge of that scale may not be realistic but imagine if you could help raise awareness about The Olivia Caldwell Foundation to 10 people, and then those 10 people reached 10 more people and so on and so forth. The impact would be huge.
The beauty of P2P Fundraising is that it isn’t one size fits all. You get to choose how you want to participate; train for a 5k, challenge your gym to do a competition, challenge your coworkers to see who can raise the most, ask your boss to match your donation, auction off the opportunity for someone to tell you how to shave your beard- the options are endless and you can be as creative as you want! Whichever way you choose to fundraise the concept of the ALS Challenge remains the same. You rally your connections (family, friends, coworkers, etc.) to donate, you create awareness about our organization, and you can challenge your friends and family to do the same. Now look at how quickly you exponentially increased your impact!
If you’re interested in getting involved as a P2P Fundraiser we encourage you to join us for WyoGives! WyoGives is a 24 hour day of giving on July 14th where we all rally together to create awareness and raise funds for Wyoming nonprofits. We are looking for people who want to be advocates for OCF and raise awareness and funds through P2P Fundraising. Don’t worry, we have all of the materials you need to get going and templates to use to spread the word- your job is to get creative and challenge your network of friends and family to support your goals. This is going to be an amazing day where we all rally together and see how much of an impact we can make!
Reach out to Allison Harker, email@example.com or (307) 333.1273 to find out more information about you or your company/civic organization getting involved with P2P Fundraising.