In America, more than 10,000 children are diagnosed with cancer every year, and every year approximately 1,500 kids will die of the disease. While the incidence of pediatric cancer is on the rise, survival rates are also improving over time, thanks, in part to the efforts of researchers working hard on issues of prevention, treatment, and cure.
Eric Greenberg Goldy, a 17-year-old New York City High School Student, is the founder of the Strike Out Pediatric Cancer PCF Bowlathon, a charity event he started five years ago when he was required to choose a charity project as he prepared to become a Bar Mitzvah. He had already participated in the Columbia Cares Box Project, where students “brought in different arts and crafts items to put inside of shoe boxes that we decorated to give to kids with cancer,” and was also influenced by his sister’s participation in the Annual Pediatric Cancer Walkathon, both of which benefit the Pediatric Cancer Foundation (PCF).
The mission of PCF, Goldy says, “is really to help doctors help kids who have cancer and what that means to me is that we’re helping as many kids as we can live a healthy and happy life.” Since PCF “receives no funding from the government or pharmaceutical companies…nearly 90% of every dollar raised supports their mission to eradicate cancer.”
Lots to Anticipate: An Event Worth Waiting for
This year’s Bowlathon has been delayed, slightly, by Hurricane Sandy, but on Sunday, December 16th between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., people of all ages, including an assortment of families, business teams, and “young kids who need bumpers and slides,” will be rolling for charity at Lucky Strike Lanes in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City.
There’s plenty to anticipate. In addition to bowling and fundraising, a senior from Greenberg Goldy’s school has “composed music to poetry written by pediatric cancer survivors. She plans to perform her compositions live,” at the event. In conjunction with the 92nd Street Y‘s TEENSgiving Program, 30 or more teen volunteers from the High School of Art and Design will be on site to help with the Design-A-Bag workshop, which will be held in conjunction with the Bowlathon, courtesy of ChariTotes. ChariTotes, Greenberg Goldy explains, “began as an arts and crafts activity that my sister, Taylor, thought of where bowlers personally decorate blank canvas backs, make get well cards and then stuff the bags with a notebook, crayons, and stickers to give to kids in local pediatric cancer units.” Over 200 Design-A-Bag kits will be available at the event. This year’s Bowlathon will also feature a dedication: to friend and classmate, Nick, who was recently diagnosed with leukemia. The event will also serve as “a call-to-action to everyone who wants to support him.”
It Take a Village to Beat Cancer
How do you transform an idea like this into reality? You need people behind you. Lots and lots of people. Corporate sponsors, for instance: “Each year,” Greenberg Goldy says, “I send out hundreds of corporate sponsor letters in hopes that they will support the Annual Strike Out Pediatric Cancer PCF Bowlathon.” This year’s supporters include: Appleseeds, Baked by Melissa, Birdsnest Productions, Alicart Restaurant Group, Fireman’s Hospitality Group, Asphalt Green, Chelsea Piers, Charitotes, CleanPlates, Lucky Strike, New Victory Theater, Protocol, Balloon Bouquets, Cozy’s Cuts for Kids, and The Summer Lady. In exchange for sponsorship, he puts their logo on his sponsorship page and in his press kits. “We also thank them,” Greenberg Goldy says, “A lot!”
The organization also sends out 30 or 40 press kits “to newspapers, magazines, radio stations, websites, and blogs asking them to support the Annual Strike Out Pediatric Cancer Bowlathon by publicizing the event,” and finds that “most media outlets typically show their support by posting the event on their events calendar.” He’s always hoping for a little more exposure “(for example, Big Apple Parent ran an article featuring the Bowlathon in 2010)” to spread awareness and further his cause. The more people know about the Bowlathon, the more money they’ll raise and the more likely that they’ll “eventually name the second Sunday in October: National Strike Out Pediatric Cancer Day!”
Greenberg Goldy’s social media strategy is a smart one, too. While they are still building their base, “in terms of Facebook, every Monday we post a new sponsor logo, on Wednesday we post a picture from past Bowlathons, and on Fridays we post Bowling Tips,” demonstrating a consistency that is helpful in social network campaigns, along with a good understanding of what the audience is looking for.
Greenberg Goldy believes strongly in his cause, reminding donors that “PCF receives no funding from the government or pharmaceutical companies and since 1970, nearly 90% of every dollar raised supports their mission to eradicate cancer.” The money goes to “research, state of the art equipment and parent/patient care.” Pediatric Cancer is a devastating diagnosis, and PCF envisions a world where no child suffers through it: complete eradication of the disease. To Greenberg Goldy, the Bowlathon represents a way to for people to support the mission and have fun doing it. He even “created a handbook—How To Organize a Fundraiser and Still Have Fun” and hopes that his event becomes a national one, with many people hosting Bowlathons on the 2nd Sunday in November, every year until pediatric cancer is history.
PCF hosts other annual fundraisers—The Annual PCF Walkathon in the spring, the PCF Luncheon in the Fall, the PCF Holiday Shopping Boutique in November,Give Hope Love events for Young Adults, the Chocolate Project and the Dollar Campaign—but the Bowlathon remains “a kid-driven even organized by kids for kids.” Greenberg Goldy hopes to continue working on the Bowlathon, making it a larger and larger event, until one day he can say, “We did it. Together we struck out pediatric cancer.”