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Kick Starting Fundraising Efforts

Bite Me Cancer Foundation raises awareness and research funding.

— The Bite Me Cancer Foundation in Chantilly held its first two fundraising events to support its Teen Support Bag program and thyroid cancer research. Proceeds from the events totaled more than $6,500.

The two events, a professional networking event held at the Reston Town Center’s Vapiano Restaurant on July 25, and the “Take a Swing at Cancer” event held Aug. 12 at the Dulles Golf Center and Sports Park drew crowds and helped raise awareness for the young foundation formed in September 2010. Bite Me Cancer was founded to support teens fighting all cancers and raise awareness and research funding for thyroid cancer, the world’s fastest increasing cancer.

The foundation’s Teen Support Bag program is the brainchild of the foundation’s 19-year-old founder, Nikki Ferraro, herself a teen cancer patient. Ferraro was diagnosed with a rare form of thyroid cancer in 2010 when she was a junior at Chantilly High School. Her experience with cancer treatment taught her that teens need a different kind of support than children undergoing treatment, and that was the impetus for the creation of Bite Me Cancer’s teen support bag program.

Sponsors included Fun Company Events, American Systems, Curry’s Auto Service and M&T Bank.

On Aug. 13, the day after the event at the Dulles Golf Center, Ferraro delivered 10 teen support bags to the Children’s Inn at National Institutes of Health for teenagers staying there while in treatment. The support bags contain a number of items to help teens pass the time and feel not so alone while they are in hospitals or undergoing treatment. Items include: a ball cap, deck of cards, iTunes gift card, candy, flash drive with an inspirational video message about Ferraro’s own cancer journey, as well as other Bite Me Cancer items that promote the foundation’s “Attitude is Everything” motto. Bite Me Cancer also has partnerships with the INOVA Fairfax Oncology Unit and Life With Cancer to distribute the bags. The foundation hopes to distribute these bags throughout the country.

Now a sophomore at James Madison University, Ferraro is studying marketing and hopes to grow the foundation’s resources so that she can reach more teens who are battling cancer. Thyroid cancer is the fastest increasing cancer in the country, so Ferraro wants to also support thyroid cancer research grants.

For more information about the Bite Me Cancer Foundation, visit the foundation’s website at www.bitemecancer.org.