Nothing goes better together than a hot summer day and a refreshing glass of lemonade. Our Team Roswell fundraising coordinators Tim Fitzgerald and his daughters Lena, Maeve and Noreen know that!
We caught up with the Fitzgerald family about the inspiration behind their lemonade stand and how they added a virtual component to boost their fundraising. Here is what they had to say.
What is your connection to Roswell Park?
Roswell Park has been a part of our family’s lives in some way for the past twenty years. We have had aunts, uncles, cousins and close friends all receive treatment for various types of cancers. Most closely to our family, both our mother and father had been diagnosed with breast cancer and prostate cancer. The experiences were vastly different from one another. In mom’s case, her treatments led to her successfully beating cancer and over the course of the last twenty years through working with Roswell, she has remained cancer free. Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer about five years ago, and we quickly learned it was aggressive. In the eyes of the doctors and professionals working with him, the case was particularly unusual and challenging. Despite that, the team working with dad continued to develop a treatment plan to keep the cancer at bay. Towards the end of dad’s journey, he had some major complications but in September of 2018 he was declared cancer free.
In the following month, however, because of the aggressive nature of the cancer and the impact of those complications, dad left us before we were ready to let him go. No one ever chooses cancer. Going through the process is extremely difficult. Even though there is always some level of anxiety when walking through the doors of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, every single person we interact with treats us with compassion. Doctors, nurses, volunteers, and all other members of the community make the process more comforting. Our family has always been appreciative and grateful for all of the amazing things that happen at Roswell Park.
What inspired you to start this event?
We were inspired to host a lemonade stand for a couple of reasons. During the long summer days, we needed something to keep us busy and have fun planning! We decided it might be fun to raise some money for a cause. The girls are the ones who chose Roswell Park. They knew that the hospital played an important role in helping not just their grandpa, but also so many other people. It was a perfect fit for our family because we know how supportive the hospital is not just for those going through treatments, but also their families.
Describe your event and the planning process.
Planning our lemonade stand and incorporating Team Roswell could not have been easier. Once we decided to host our lemonade stand, we went to the Team Roswell website and set up a fundraising page. Within 24 hours, a member of Team Roswell personally contacted us, offering support and assistance for our event. They even sent a great pack of swag to inspire us and help decorate our lemonade stand. Once we chose the date to host our stand, we used social media to advertise. We connected our online fundraising page to Facebook through our Team Roswell page to advertise and collect donations. A majority of our donations were made by people buying “virtual lemonade” and it was the reason our event was such a huge success
What does it mean to you to be a champion for cancer cures?
“It’s nice to help your own family but it’s also nice to help others.”
“It feels good knowing that you can play a part in helping raise money for cancer research.”
What would you say to someone who is considering starting their own fundraiser but is a little nervous?
“It is ok to feel nervous but once you realize that you are helping Roswell Park, it makes everything easier. You can pick anything you enjoy doing and turn it into a fundraiser. It’s also great to get help from your friends to help you feel more confident when getting started.” – Lena and Maeve
Taking the initiative to raise money for a cause can seem like a daunting task. The structure that Team Roswell has in place makes it incredibly easy to be successful. The online fundraising platform is very convenient and is a huge reason for our success.
Do you have any fundraising tips and tricks to add?
- Choose something you enjoy and turn it into an opportunity to fundraise.
- Advertise! Let people know about your event. This is why the Team Roswell Fundraising Page is so great. It’s easy to post reminders on your donation page.
- Encourage friends and family to “Like” and “Share” your event. We had many donations from people we did not know because our friends posted our link on their own social media feeds.
- Take advantage of the help and guidance offered by the great people at Team Roswell. We received t-shirts, stickers, banners, balloons and other items that helped make our event such a success.
Anything else to add?
We are so grateful for Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. Everyone knows someone who has experienced cancer. The impact cancer has not only on the patient, but also his or her family, is significant. If you choose to be a member of Team Roswell, know that the money you raise, regardless of the amount, has the chance to make someone’s journey with cancer just a little bit better.
At the end of Summer 2019, Lena, Maeve and Noreen presented their check to Team Roswell, and raised an impressive $1,200! Their 2020 lemonade stand is already in the works.