Clear Search

Behind the Ribbon: Carol Edwards Shares Her Story

By BCRF | July 23, 2015

For more than a decade, BCRF’s Manager of Independent Events has been the voice for the organization’s grassroots fundraisers

Whenever Carol picks up the phone, she has to be prepared. For the past 11 years, she has been the person BCRF fundraisers call to receive advice, ask questions and brainstorm creative ways to support lifesaving breast cancer research.

“I love working with our independent fundraisers. Their resilience and passion ­–that’s what gets me up in the morning,” Carol, who is the manager of gift administration and independent events at BCRF, said. Longtime supporters know Carol by name – or at least recognize her by her distinctive Jamaican accent – and together they develop lasting relationships.

Her efforts along with the guidance provided by BCRF deputy director and chief program officer Peg Mastrianni has led to more than a 300 percent increase in donations from BCRF grassroots fundraisers in the past five years: from just over $652,000 in 2010 to nearly $3 million raised in 2015.

“It’s really taken off,” Carol said referring to the significant growth of independent fundraisers. At first she was hired as a Database Administrator, then in 2009 she was promoted to manager of gift administration and independent events.

“I think it helps to have a real person on the other end of the line, giving organizers guidance, ideas and support to make sure their events succeed,” she said.

While Carol has sent support material including pink bracelets and pink ribbons to event organizers across the nation, she has spent an equal amount of time listening to personal stories from supporters and how they have been impacted by breast cancer. These can range from hearing post-treatment updates to learning that the disease has progressed. 

“A few people have called me to say goodbye,” Carol said recalling these emotional moments. “They explain that the cancer has spread and the doctor’s have informed them their time is coming to an end. They sound so strong and upbeat, it’s hard to believe.”

While these moments are incredibly tough, they remind her of the importance of BCRF’s mission.

“That’s why I continue to work for BCRF,” Carol said. “I hope we will find a cure and I feel strongly about it.”

BCRF fundraisers nationwide feel the same way. Whenever the opportunity allows, Carol enjoys spending time with independent fundraisers at their events. She has gone to Vermont to watch Bikers for a Cure –a 145-mile ride across the New England countryside. Last year she joined a group of police officers, firemen and other public service members from the tri-state area as they went off-roading for the cause.

Regardless if she meets fundraisers in-person or only speaks to them over the phone, they share the same passion to find ways to fuel research hours, she said.

And for those contemplating starting a fundraiser of their own, Carol says she has witnessed many simple tasks that go a long way. From organizing workplace lunches to birthday parties, she remains astounded at the different ways people have raised funds for research.

“If it’s dancing, making a meal or even skipping – you would be surprised all the different things people do,” she said. It’s this simplicity and the freedom instilled on BCRF fundraisers that have empowered them to continue to fundraise year after year. Carol hopes this will encourage more people to follow in their footsteps.

“Just go and do it,” she says. “Don’t hesitate to give me a call.”