Thank you for visiting my Personal Fundraising Page.
There are many worthy causes looking for your support, and it can be hard to know whether your contributions make a difference. So I am going to tell you a little about why the Children's Brain Tumor Foundation should be at the top of your list and how your donation can make a difference.
If you are reading this, you likely know that my daughter, Emma Fanelli, is a brain tumor survivor. Most of you will have had enough experience with friends or family to know that the fight against cancer is never easy. It takes its toll on so many aspects of a person's life. For most survivors, however, the nightmare subsides when they beat the disease. Of course no one ever comes away without losing something, but survivors of brain tumors face significant challenges for the rest of their lives. These challenges can be isolating, especially for teens who want so much to be accepted, to have friends, even to be acknowledged when they walk into a classroom.
This past summer, Emma had the opportunity to spend an amazing week at Camp Mak-A-Dream's Teen Heads Up Conference in Gold Creek, Montana. She flew out of Newark with staff from the Children's Brain Tumor Foundation and about 20 other teens, and they traveled together to this magical place where no one would judge them for walking differently, talking more slowly, not being able to hear well, or any other long-term effects of brain tumors. When I picked Emma up at the airport at the end of the week, I immediately saw what I have seen so many times before when picking her up after a week at The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, the other magical, mystical place for children who have been dealt a bad hand. It was on her face, in her eyes, and in the wilt of her body -- she did not want to return to the isolation of her daily life after having spent such a wonderful week feeling as if -- knowing that -- she belonged. She spoke about camp every day and grieved for the acceptance she felt there. For weeks now, a day rarely passes without mention of camp and her desire to be there again.
Over the years, we have worked hard to help Emma participate in as many interesting and rewarding experiences as possible, but I can't do the things that matter most: I can't take away her loneliness and isolation, and I can't give her acceptance and friends. But, the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation can. Emma is already making plans for next year when she will be eligible to attend the Young Adults Heads Up Conference. And she asks me daily when she will be able to start the photography class that CBTF will be offering this fall in New York City (it's a schlep, but we will make the trip).
So here's where you come in. Putting together a camp experience like the one Emma and other teen brain tumor survivors had this summer isn't easy, and it isn't cheap. The camp exists because people like you support the work of the Children's Brain Tumor Foundation (which, by the way, does a lot more than the Heads Up Conferences!).
On September 23, Emma and I will head to Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, New York, for the 1st Annual Children's Walk Against Brain Tumors and Brain Cancer. We won't be walking far, but we will walk with hope and determination. Please support our participation by giving generously in Emma's honor. The date is also my 52nd birthday if you need another reason to dig deep!
Donating through this site is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to make a contribution to our fundraising efforts. Many thanks for your support-- and don't forget to forward this to anyone who you think might want to donate too!
With love and hope,
Charlene (aka Chuck) and Emma