Brenda Young learned some valuable lessons from her sister’s breast cancer diagnosis: to plan for tomorrow, while living for today. While her sister completed treatment 14 years ago and shows no signs of the disease, Brenda watched other friends face similar diagnoses – and she didn’t want her daughters to share the same experience.
In 2004, Brenda and her friends decided to find a way to make a difference in their community. They started Bunco for Breast Cancer of Arizona, an annual event in Phoenix where more than 100 women play the parlor game that encourages them to “roll the dice, beat the odds.” So far, the odds have been in their favor: nearly $120,000 has been raised for BCRF since the event’s inception.
Recently, Brenda spoke with BCRF about her fundraising experience, what motivates her and why she supports breast cancer research.
How did your sister’s diagnosis motivate you to start fundraising?
My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer almost 14 years ago. Since this time she has undergone a double mastectomy, chemo and numerous other drugs to become cancer-free today. However, she still battles lymphedema a secondary disease linked to the removal of lymph nodes during diagnosis.
At the time when my sister and other friends started being diagnosed with breast cancer, I played Bunco in a monthly group where one member was a survivor. As we started to see more family and friends being impacted, we started Bunco for Breast Cancer of Arizona. In a way we are just a group of friends – ordinary women, wives, sisters, girlfriends, mothers, and daughters – who started to look for ways to make a difference.
Could you describe Bunco for Breast Cancer of Arizona?
Bunco is a game of dice and pure luck (although a Bunco purist may disagree with the luck part – wink) where participants sit at four-person tables rolling for a certain number in each round. The rounds are timed; the tournament is hosted by our designated “Pink Tie Guy.” Periodical switching of partners and tables occurs to help keep the game interesting and give everyone the opportunity to socialize while meeting others. This year we raised just under $8,000 for BCRF.
What has been your most inspiring moment throughout your time fundraising?
The most inspiring moments are at registration/check-in at our event. This is where we get to greet returning players, meet new players and hear why they are passionate in supporting the cause and The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Organizing an event is a difficult undertaking. What keeps you going year after year?
The desire to make an impact for future generations helps motivate us to keep going each year. Plus we have a wonderful group of attendees, many of whom organize and donate baskets to be raffled at this fun, fundraising event. This year we had the opportunity to have two different generations of survivors attend our event. One was a mother-daughter team; the other team was composed of three generations of breast cancer survivors with their sister who is not a BRCA gene mutation carrier.
What inspired you to support BCRF in particular?
After completing much research 12 years ago, we decided to support the Breast Cancer Research Foundation based on how the proceeds of our efforts would be used. We are 100 percent in support of funding research efforts and appreciate BCRF’s dedication to fiscal responsibility.
BCRF is not as well known in Arizona as it is on the East Coast, but we hope through our efforts it will become more of a household name where individuals will know their donations are well spent.
For more information on Bunco for Breast Cancer of Arizona click here.
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Breast Cancer Research Foundation28 West 44th Street, Suite 609, New York, NY 10036
General Office: 646-497-2600 | Toll Free: firstname.lastname@example.org | BCRF is a 501 (c)(3) | EIN: 13-3727250