Fundraising With Kids Can Be Fun and Impactful

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by Jackie Babiarz |

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Kids are absolutely incredible fundraisers. They have a million different ideas. With an adult’s help organizing, they can raise so much money and awareness.

One of my childhood friends, Megan, is an elementary teacher. Upon learning about my 12-year-old daughter Cammy’s Rett syndrome diagnosis, Megan immediately knew how she could help. She incorporated Cammy into her curriculum by challenging her second-graders to create a book that shows all of the things Cammy Can do.

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What can all people do, regardless of disability, race, gender, or culture? Megan’s students rose to the challenge and created beautiful pages for the book. Cammy can learn, play with friends, listen, go to school, and celebrate special events. Along with creating the book, they collected donations for the International Rett Syndrome Foundation (IRSF).

A page from the Cammy Can book says "Cammy can smile." / Rett Syndrome News

Photo by Jacqueline Babiarz

A page from the “Cammy Can” book, made by a student in Mrs. LaLonde’s second-grade class. (Photo by Jacqueline Babiarz)

When Cammy turned 2, her 13-year-old cousin Morgan organized a bake sale at her junior high to raise money for Rett syndrome. Morgan wrote a proposal to present to the principal, which was immediately approved. She enlisted her grandma (my mom) to help her bake and created posters with information about Cammy, Rett syndrome, and the bake sale. During lunch hours, Morgan sold all sorts of baked goods to her schoolmates. That day, she raised $390 in honor of her little cousin.

For Cammy’s second birthday, my dear friend Melissa came over with a car trunk full of cans. She had made these beautiful and clever fundraising “Cammy Cans” with empty quart paint cans, scrapbooking paper, sticker letters, and ribbon. Melissa’s idea was to put them in classrooms, offices, homes, and so on to collect spare change.

The idea caught fire. Pretty soon, family and friends were sending me photos of their child with a Cammy Can can, collecting any loose change. Friends would put a can on their desk at work with a photo of Cammy, and co-workers would not only drop some money in, but inquire about Cammy and learn about Rett. Whenever the can was full, we donated the amount collected to the IRSF in Cammy’s honor.

Two decorated "Cammy Can" cans used for fundraising. / Rett Syndrome News

Photo by Jacqueline Babiarz

Cammy Can cans. (Photo by Jacqueline Babiarz)

Cammy’s physical therapist has a daughter named Kelsey. She submitted IRSF as her charity choice for an out-of-uniform fundraiser at her junior high school, where students and faculty each pay $1 to not wear their uniform for a day. Kelsey wrote about Rett syndrome, Cammy, and why this was important to her. IRSF was selected, and Kelsey’s school raised $141 for the organization.

When Cammy’s twin cousins, Carly and Sydney, turned 8, they decided to ask for donations to IRSF in lieu of gifts. In their party invite, they explained why giving and not receiving, especially to IRSF, was so important to them. Families were so touched to be invited and involved. They generously donated in Cammy’s honor. All the girls at the party wore Cammy Can shirts.

Fundraising really goes beyond Rett syndrome. It teaches love, empathy, the importance of embracing differences, anti-bullying, and many other important life lessons.


Note: Rett Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Rett Syndrome News, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Rett syndrome.


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