Giving Back: The Dempsey Challenge Team!

Warning: this is one of my longest posts ever…I apologize for the length, but I think it’s worth it. Hang in there with me…

I spent some time earlier this month setting goals for the coming year. Over the past few weeks, I’ve come to a few realizations about those goals and will be sharing a little more about that next week. But something that was very important to me going forward in 2013 was the idea of expanding Cuppa’s charitable giving.

Many of you already know that I donate a percentage of every session and wedding to CancerCare {if you didn’t realize that, you can read a little more about it here!}. It’s been so exciting over the years to watch the grand total of donated dollars reach from the hundreds to the thousands and awesome to see how many of you have taken it one step further and matched my donation!

I don’t want to see that change at all!

But I’ve found myself wanting to give more than just money. To connect in a more meaningful way and spread the love a little further. To give a little more of myself and my energy in a way that demonstrates my gratitude for all that the charity of others has meant in my own life.

Have I shared my story with you?

Here’s the super-abbreviated version. When I was diagnosed with cancer for the first time, I was 22 years old, uninsured, and at an absolute loss as to how to proceed. I was scared and overwhelmed and felt utterly alone with a problem that I could barely comprehend much less cope financially with. I maxed out my one credit card with my first chemotherapy treatment and had no idea what to do next. With the help of a librarian at my university, I compiled a list of potential financial resources and began making phone calls. Without going into great detail, it was through an insanely miraculous series of events that I essentially won the “life lottery” and an anonymous individual took up my cause and paid, completely, for my cancer care and all of the care that I’ve required since that day more than ten years ago. Someone has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars keeping a complete stranger alive.

To say that my debt is large is a gigantic understatement, wouldn’t you say?

So I’ve been looking around and mulling ideas over in my head and sketching outlines of potential ways to execute this vision. And then it all began to come together with the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing. This Center is a truly amazing place and if you live in New England, I cannot urge you strongly enough to drop by for a tour of their newly expended facilities.

The Dempsey Center is for anyone affected by cancer in any way. Not just patients, but survivors, caregivers, family members, friends and anyone else who has had their life touched by cancer. They offer a haven of support and resources, from lending libraries, classes, support groups, massage and reiki, etc etc etc. And they offer all of this absolutely free of charge. Free. of. charge.

That’s huge.

I wanted in on this amazing action, so I made an appointment with the Center’s fundraising coordinator and she helped me map out a program that I’m SO SO SOOOOOOOO excited to share with you guys. Here’s the deal in a nutshell:

The Dempsey Challenge is the Center’s largest fundraising event. It’s a run/walk and bike ride that happens over the course of a weekend every fall. Participants can take part in one of three ways: create/join a team, participate as an individual, or be a “virtual” participant who fundraises but doesn’t actually participate in the events themselves.

Cuppa now has a Dempsey Challenge team. You can view the team page here or my personal fundraising page here. {Don’t judge the numbers yet…we JUST got up and running!}

Anyone can join the Cuppa Team (either as a team member for the event or as a “virtual” participant) and fundraise for our team. Here’s where it gets good:

I will match you dollar-for-dollar in product credit for every dollar that you raise for our team.

Know you want a wedding album but the budget’s tight? Join the team and start raising money for an awesome cause and let that effort earn your album for you. Dollar for dollar. What you raise is what you earn. I think this is the very definition of “win-win” and I am insanely excited to see what kind of magic you guys make happen. I promise to help you out by posting fundraising ideas and motivation. And we’ll need team shirts, so start submitting those ideas (I see a contest in our future!) so we can rock them this fall!

I  am grateful every single day that someone saw my life as worthy of saving regardless of my merit. The generosity of others has given me this life of love and beauty and joy. You guys, my amazing clients, have opened your own lives and loves to me and allowed me to be a part of them in astounding ways. Thank you so much. Thank you more than I can ever put into words. Thank you.



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