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Teen Throws ‘Thumbs Up’ BCRF Fundraiser, Challenging Classmates to Give Up Social Media

By BCRF | June 20, 2016

14-year-old Arianna Bertolotti created a challenging fundraiser in honor of her aunt, who is a breast cancer survivor

Arianna Bertolotti was only nine years old when her aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer. While her memories during that time are faint, today she sees how her aunt’s life has been forever altered by her diagnosis. To that end, the eighth grader decided to start a fundraiser for BCRF in her aunt’s honor – in a way that is true to her age.

“I thought it would be a good idea to ‘thumbs up’ or refrain from using social media for a week or more as an exercise to raise funds for breast cancer research while at the same time promoting interaction with family and friends,” Bertolotti said. The event, which took place in November, raised more than $800 for BCRF. 

She asked her classmates to give up social media for five days – and by doing so would receive donations to BCRF for their actions. Bertolotti nicknamed the event “Thumbs Up” since her peers literally had to keep their thumbs off away from all social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

While the fundraiser was challenging, it held a deeper meaning for Bertolotti besides testing one’s strength of will.

“Taking away something as important as social media was an attempt to simulate how people with breast cancer feel when their lives are instantly and drastically changed when they are diagnosed,” she said.

Bertolotti admits the fundraiser was challenging at times, however her friends learned an impactful lesson from their experience.

“After we ‘survived’ without social media, we reflected on how hard it would be if something more drastic were taken away from us for instance, our hair,” she said. “Many women suffering from breast cancer lose their hair which, I can only imagine, would be much harder than losing social media.”  

A strong supporter for research, Bertolotti hopes new advances will not only help cure breast cancer but improve the quality of life for patients as well.

“Breast cancer research is important to me because the more people know about a cause, the better we can help prevent it from even happening in the first place,” she said. “It is wonderful and satisfying to participate in an effort to find the cure for breast cancer and prevent the loss of any future lives.”