52 Races in 52 Weeks

One Woman’s Race to Raise Funds for Roswell Park

Personal trainer and massage therapist Stephanie Latawiec had always been close to her grandmother Theresa.

“She was the kind of woman who had a zest for life like no other person I have ever met,” she says.

“I could never properly pronounce her name as a child, so she became T.T. 
to my brother and me. Even as a kid,
I remember her always going away on exotic trips overseas and traveling the world. You would find her in her sunroom practicing yoga, socializing with friends and just living the life.”

In the fall of 2016, T.T. developed glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. Stephanie moved in with her to help out during this difficult time.
That meant she also witnessed her grandmother’s battle up close. T.T. had multiple surgeries, two brain biopsies, gamma knife treatments and a host of other tests.

In November 2017, just days after her 80th birthday, T.T. lost her fight with
 this disease. Stephanie wanted to do something meaningful as a tribute to her grandmother and to support other brain cancer patients. That’s how she came up with 52 races in 52 weeks to raise funds for brain cancer research at Roswell Park. “I decided to continue her story since she no longer could,” she says.

stephanie-latawiec-donor-dollars-september-07-2018-4Stephanie began her races in January 2018 with the goal of raising $10,000 over the coming year. But before she started, she connected with Team Roswell.

Team Roswell provides support to community members holding their own fundraisers to benefit Roswell Park. The staff was there every step of the way, giving Stephanie fundraising guidance and lots of swag for her events, like including balloons, fliers, banners, giveaways and a special jersey to wear during her races.

When she surpassed her goal in July, Stephanie raised it to $15,000. She credits social media with spreading the word and catching the attention of local news stations. The new Facebook fundraising integration in particular really helped. It’s a great tool that connects her Team Roswell fundraising page with Facebook so supporters can donate to her fundraiser without ever leaving Facebook.

In addition to participating in organized athletic events (like The Ride For Roswell and the Empire State Ride), she has also leveraged community events to her advantage, like a pallet board art project with Buffalo Collective; a 50-50 raffle on a catamaran boat ride at Canalside; and fundraisers with LuLuLemon, Jada Blitz Fitness and Rebel Ride. Many of these businesses matched the participants’ donations. Then there are the surprises, like her friend’s kindergarten class selling cupcakes and another hosting her very own Bald for Bucks campaign — each bringing in more than $1,000.

What is the best thing about these races, according to Stephanie? Still, through and through, her first inspiration.

“Not only have I been able to showcase how wonderful Roswell is in terms of the care that they provide people for the community and those who are affected by cancer, but I really have had 
my own healing throughout this year after witnessing my grandmother’s journey. This year has showcased the positive of what happened with my grandmother by turning it into something else. She inspires me. I feel like she inspires other people. She’s the reason I’m doing what I’m doing.

“I hope my donations help create a better quality of life for patients and families who are affected with a brain cancer diagnosis. More importantly, I hope to be able to help fund the clinical trials that are currently underway 
at Roswell Park and find a cure for glioblastoma so that no one ever has to hear those dreaded words — ‘You have cancer’ — again.”

Follow Stephanie’s progress here.

The Fifth Annual Salsa for a Cure!

In collaboration with many local organizations, the Hispanic Heritage Council of WNY is excited to present Salsa for a Cure 2018! This fifth annual amateur dance competition will be held on Friday, October 12 at 7:00 p.m. at the Pucho Olivencia Community Center.

Since its inception in 2014, Salsa for a Cure has raised nearly $12,000 for Patient Care Services at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. Roswell Park offers a wide range of services to help our patients learn more about cancer and ways to cope with the disease and treatment. These supportive patient care services include pet therapy programs, the bed side assistant program, pastoral care and spiritual support, the music and arts program in the lobby and more.

Tickets to the event are $25.00 in advance or $30.00 at the door. The event features an exciting dance competition, raffles, music and more! To register to compete in Salsa for a Cure or for more information please email Maritza, at maritza@hispanicheritagewny.org. Click here for event details and to purchase presale tickets.

The Hispanic Heritage Council would like to recognize the Pucho Olivencia Community Center, the Puerto Rican and Hispanic Day Parade of WNY Association, Baila Salsa Dance Company – Fanny and Calvin, Sarah Haykle and Jerome, USA Dance WNY Chapter, DJ V3rdgo, Sin Fronteras WNY Radio Show and Team Roswell, for their support in making Salsa for a Cure a success year after year.

Integrate Your Fundraiser with Facebook

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1530127128707{margin-bottom: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]Would you like a tool that will make your Team Roswell fundraising efforts easier? Of course you do! Fundraising can be challenging, but we’re so excited to introduce a new tool that will help make it easier. You can now connect your Team Roswell fundraiser directly to your Facebook!

With this new utilization, you can spread the word about your fundraiser and track your progress right on Facebook. Your friends and family can easily donate when scrolling through their newsfeeds, and you can quickly send updates on your progress. You’ll be able to meet your goal in no time at all – and maybe set another one!

Your progress will be also reflected in your fundraising thermometer, both on Facebook and on your Team Roswell fundraising page, so people can stay up to date on your journey.[/vc_column_text][vc_custom_heading text=”Here’s How To Connect
Your Fundraiser to Facebook” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:center|color:%231e73be” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_custom_heading text=”1. Log in to your fundraising dashboard” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:center|color:%231e73be” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1530128317435{padding-top: 50px !important;}”][mk_button dimension=”outline” size=”x-large” url=”https://give.roswellpark.org/site/TR?fr_id=1390&pg=entry&login=true” target=”_blank” align=”center” outline_skin=”custom” outline_active_color=”#1e73be” outline_active_text_color=”#1e73be” outline_hover_bg_color=”#1e73be” outline_hover_color=”#ffffff”]Fundraising Dashboard[/mk_button][vc_custom_heading text=”2. Scroll down and click on
“Connect Fundraiser to Facebook”” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:center|color:%231e73be” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1530128336299{padding-top: 50px !important;}”][vc_single_image image=”6351″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][vc_custom_heading text=”3. You’ll be redirected to Facebook, and a pop-up window will appear that states Roswell Park will receive your public profile. Click “Continue.”” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:center|color:%231e73be” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1530128408420{padding-top: 50px !important;}”][vc_single_image image=”6356″ img_size=”450×486″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_outline” onclick=”link_image”][vc_custom_heading text=”4. An additional pop-up window will appear that state Roswell Park would like to manage your fundraiser. Click “Ok.”” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:center|color:%231e73be” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1530128805515{padding-top: 50px !important;}”][vc_single_image image=”6362″ img_size=”450×260″ alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_outline” onclick=”link_image”][vc_custom_heading text=”5. Either you’ll be brought to your Facebook Fundraiser or you will be prompted to go to your Facebook Fundraiser dashboard.” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:center|color:%231e73be” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1530128921961{padding-top: 50px !important;}”][vc_single_image image=”6364″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][vc_single_image image=”6367″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image”][vc_custom_heading text=”6. Edit your fundraising information, including title, description, goal amount, end goal and more.” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:center|color:%231e73be” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1530129039623{padding-top: 50px !important;}”][vc_custom_heading text=”7. Promote your Facebook Fundraiser by sharing or inviting people to your fundraiser to start getting donations!” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:center|color:%231e73be” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1530129054166{padding-top: 50px !important;}”][vc_single_image image=”6369″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” style=”vc_box_outline” onclick=”link_image”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Sip Away Sarcoma

Glasses clink, filled with lemon-drop martinis. Hors d’oeuvres are passed to guests in yellow. Everyone has come to celebrate a man they loved. Family, friends, business colleagues, all gathered in memory of Rick Vivacqua and to raise funds to fight the disease he battled so hard.

When Rick was diagnosed with sarcoma in 2003, he and his family were relieved to have Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center so close to home – one of only four places specializing in sarcoma in New York State.

Rick lived with sarcoma for another 12 years, undergoing multiple surgeries and participating in a number of clinical trials. In December 2015, he lost his long battle with the disease.

“My dad was such an amazing guy. We were so lucky to have him,” says his daughter Cate. “And sarcoma is so rare that we were lucky to have him for 12 years after his diagnosis.”

Back in July 2015, inspired by her father’s battle and in recognition of Sarcoma Awareness Month, Cate hosted her first Team Roswell fundraising event to benefit Roswell Park. She called the happy hour celebration event Sip Away Sarcoma. Rick was able to attend and was overwhelmed with love from so many people he cared about.

After Rick passed away later that year, Cate, her mother Mary Kate and her brother Daniel wanted to continue celebrating him and his life while also financially supporting sarcoma research and patients.

The family established The Richard J. Vivacqua Endowed Fund for Sarcoma Research.

Cate and Mary Kate Vivacqua with Dr. John Kane III at Sip Away Sarcoma.

“We wanted to help the families that are going through what we went through,” says Mary Kate.

“It seemed the most logical option,” Cate says. “It was one way we could have my dad’s life legacy live on and be able to help Roswell Park, who helped us so much.”

To date, Sip Away Sarcoma and other donations have contributed over $100,000 toward the endowment.

Cate and Mary Kate Vivacqua presenting a check for $100,000 to Dr. John Kane III at Roswell Park. Since 2015, Mary Kate and Cate have vigorously raised funds for the Richard J. Vivacqua Endowment for Sarcoma Research.

Cate wants anyone considering hosting a Team Roswell event like Sip Away Sarcoma to know that when you plan a Team Roswell event, you are helping others who have been affected by the same disease that your family has been affected by.

Join Team Roswell and show your support at Sip Away Sarcoma 2018 on Thursday, July 26th from 6-9 pm at Acqua Restaurant in Buffalo.

5 Ways to Boost Your Fundraising on #GivingTuesday

Giving Tuesday takes place on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It is an opportunity for people to give back and kick off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. If you are currently fundraising for cancer cures or thinking about starting a #TeamRoswell fundraiser, now is a great time to kick off your efforts! Here’s how to make the most out of Giving Tuesday.

1. Social Media

Use social media to tell your story about Team Roswell! Why are you fundraising for cancer cures? How can your audience get involved and help you meet your goal? We created a social media badge to post to your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Use it to grab people’s attention and then share your story. Don’t forget to share the link to your Facebook fundraiser!

You can also use social media to recognize those who have already donated to your efforts. Tagging a donor in a thank you post will make them feel appreciated and it will give them the recognition they deserve for taking part in the fight against cancer.  We have also created social media badges for you to give to your donors to post. When your donors post about their contribution, they are increasing the reach of your Team Roswell campaign!

2. Email

Sending an email to family members, friends, teachers, etc. is a great way to reach out to people in your larger social network. Be sure to come up with a creative subject line to grab your reader’s attention, like “Join Me in the Fight Against Cancer!”  or “Let’s Do Some Good This Holiday Season Together!”

Once you grabbed their attention, tell them why you’re raising funds for Roswell Park! Ask them if their company will match their donation or if they can forward your email to their contacts. You never know who will be willing to contribute to your fundraise, just ask!

3. Ask for specifics

Speaking of asking, being specific when asking for donations is essential on Giving Tuesday. Most donors want to see their gift have a direct impact on the cause, so it’s important to promote the facts about Team Roswell and Roswell Park in order to get the best fundraising results. Share this link with your donors to help them understand how their contribution is making a difference.

4. Track Your Progress

Make a goal for yourself on Giving Tuesday and create a goal tracker. Whether it’s a thermometer or a social media update, make sure there’s a way for people to see your progress.  If people see your thermometer increasing rapidly, they may be inclined to join the excitement! Or if somebody sees you are only $100 away from your goal, they may be willing to help you meet it.


5. Embrace the Holiday Spirit

After all, this is the season of giving. Many people want to give back around the holidays and this is your chance to help them.  Remind people of what the holidays are all about (giving back) and that their contributions will make a difference emotionally and spiritually to Roswell Park’s patients.

The 10th Annual Freddy Krueger Carve Up

This past Halloween, things got a little spooky at Roswell Park Cancer Institute!

Each year, the Department of Immunology hosted a creepy-crawly pumpkin carving contest, and the 10th Annual Freddy Krueger Carve Up certainly did not disappoint!

Participants showed off their best pumpkin carving skills, all while fundraising for the Courage of Carly Fund! And this year, the event raised $1,025.00!

The whole department participates, whether they’re carving, buying tickets to vote on their favorite or contributing to the pot luck lunch!

Carvers brought their A-game this year! Pumpkin highlights include a Star Wars themed display, a brain eating pumpkin, a pumpkin named “Happy” and the voted fan favorite, “Ghosts of Grad Student’s Past”. Check out the pictures below and judge for yourself!

Star Wars
“Ghosts of Grad Student’s Past”
Brain Eating Pumpkin