Fund Raising in the Time of Covid-19 by Kate Watson
Edited by Barbara Bigelow
What a long, strange year it’s been so far… Covid-19 has thrown the best laid plans out the window and indefinitely postponed so much of “the fun stuff”. The unfortunate but necessary, full pivot away from in-person fundraising to virtual events has been a challenge that METAvivor could never have anticipated. While this socially distant shift has dampened spirits, it certainly has not diminished METAvivor’s resolve to continue the push to fund metastatic breast cancer research. I’d love a few minutes of your time to tell you exactly why…
My name is Kate Watson. I’m 39 years old, a mom to two young girls, and a wife to one amazing man. I was diagnosed with de novo metastatic breast cancer in March of 2016. Dedicated metastatic breast cancer research led to the development of game changing treatments for HER2+ patients, and that’s the only reason I’m still here. I do not take this good fortune lightly. I have lost enough metastatic friends to know that this is not the norm – BUT IT SHOULD BE.
I spent the first few years after my diagnosis slowly ramping up my personal efforts to support METAvivor and the organization’s mission to fund metastatic breast cancer research. In 2019 I convinced a team of metastatic patients, family, and friends to help me organize a new local fundraiser to benefit METAvivor in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio called Play: CLE to Cure: MBC. We surpassed our fundraising goal for the event and before the night was over, we vowed to do whatever it took to double it the next year. We lost a few women from our planning committee to MBC during the next few months, and our resolve to do more for stage IV intensified. Our smaller (but just as mighty) team anticipated opening the doors to ticket sales for our 2nd annual event in February. Cue the 2020 plot twist, and we were forced to postpone and ultimately, cancel the evening.
I was disappointed, but the gravity of the cumulative cancellations of so many events didn’t really become clear to me until I was elected to the METAvivor board of directors in May 2020. I’m now privy to the financials, the fundraising totals, and I have participated in board meetings where the conversations have centered around overall funding being down in nonprofits across the country – including our own – because they cannot count on dollars coming in from annual in-person events that have consistently been so successful in years past. So many breast cancer organizations will be bringing in less money due to the fundraising constraints of Covid-19 and be forced to fund less metastatic breast cancer research as a result. When you consider that less than 5% of all breast cancer funds go toward MBC research in a “normal” year… well, the outlook for getting the research funding we need, doesn’t look good.
We can’t simply push all fundraising events off until 2021 and hope we make up the difference then. The lives of too many women and men diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer depend on the actions we take and the research we fund today.
While few things seem certain these days, I can say with 100% confidence that METAvivor WILL BE FUNDING METASTATIC RESEARCH IN 2020. Just exactly how much we can fund will be determined by how much we raise. Metastatic breast cancer is not cancelled – but thankfully neither are the promising research proposals that have already been submitted for this cycle of grant review. 100% of your donations (which you can make directly through METAvivor.org, METAvivor’s social media channels, or by supporting the in-person fundraisers that have elected to continue virtually this year) will ensure that we can fund ALL of the very best peer-reviewed metastatic research.
If you have an idea for a virtual fundraiser or would like to learn more about what other METAvivor supporters are doing to fundraise in these uniquely constrained times, please check out the fundraising section of our website here. Whether you raise $1 or thousands of dollars, 100% of donations will fund metastatic breast cancer research until no one dies from MBC.