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A Little Creativity and a Lot of Hard Work Goes a Long Way

When your fundraising goal is $3,500, sometimes you have to get a little creative. Take it from #ESR18 rider Cheryl Drake, who looked for something sweet to help her fundraising efforts this year.
Her friend Lynn suggested having a pancake breakfast at Ferris Hills Senior Living Complex (where Lynn works) and Cheryl was sold. It was a win-win for all involved – the seniors enjoyed breakfast and entertainment, and community members were able to view the beautiful facility.
The price was $10 per person, and while the dining space was limited, the breakfast still had more than 75 people. To set her breakfast apart, there was also a Dixieland band playing, which is something Cheryl suggests to other riders looking to put on an event.
“It’s good if you can get some kind of entertainment to make the event unique,” she says. “Some musicians really enjoy just playing and don’t need to be paid, especially if they know what the cause is about. The morning time was good because most are available at that time.”
To help spread the word about her event, Cheryl turned to email and attached a flyer with additional information. Because there was limited seating, she did not use social media or create a Facebook event.
In total, the breakfast made $1,000+, which Cheryl and Ferris Hills split.

Cheryl’s Fundraising Tip

Her biggest advice for fellow Empire State riders? Hard work! Besides the pancake breakfast, Cheryl has dedicated a lot of time to fundraising.
“I sent out over 200 emails to friends, family, YMCA workout groups that I go to, church friends,” Cheryl says. “I wrote letters and attached my ESR business cards and hand-delivered them to my dentist, insurance agent, car dealership, hairdresser, deli (anyplace I go to frequently).
“I always carry my cards with me, and when the ride comes up in conversation, I hand them out if they want more information.”
And Cheryl can’t wait to jump on her bike for the 500+ mile adventure across New York State.
“My friend Melissa is a cancer warrior, and she asked me to join her on this ride,” Cheryl says. “I love that promotion of this ride has brought me in contact with other community programs that benefit cancer recovery, such as bone marrow screening.
“I also like that by talking up my ride, I can spread the word about the research that Roswell Park is doing.”

Passion and Kindness Fuel This Fundraiser

Janice Hetrick has passion – loads of it. It seems anything she dives into receives her passion, boldness and dedication in their entirety. Her participation in the Empire State Ride is no different. This will be her second year riding the 500+ mile adventure, and she’s a champion fundraiser, putting in an incredible amount of effort.

Year 1: 2017

As a breast cancer survivor, Janice has participated in over 180 events since her battle. From 5Ks to half-marathons to Tough Mudders, she’s done it all. When a friend originally suggested the Empire State Ride, Janice said no, but quickly changed her mind. Once she signed up, she got to work fundraising.
She decided to hold a basket raffle, so she reached out to people she’d met at those 180 events. The response she got was astounding. Janice received 180 baskets and more than 100 gift cards. To spread the word about her event, she contacted friends, businesses she visited frequently, work associates and more. She held the raffle at a gym where she knew the owner. Janice used her network strategically and to her advantage.
And it worked! Janice had more than 150 people attend her event. Food was donated by Daddio’s Pizza, Tim Hortons and Danny’s Restaurant. She raised more than $7,200. She ended up donating the fundraising minimum of $3,500 to a fellow Empire State Rider because that’s just the type of person Janice is.
While it is a lot of work, Janice said she would do it all over again because “it’s an event where people come together for a good cause.”

Year 2: 2018

And do it again she did. This year, Janice has various fundraisers set up at Chipotle, Orangetheory, Lean Nation and Buffalo Collective. She also hosted a meat raffle in June at an American Legion post. The ticket price was $10, which included entry, pizza and pop. There were 40 basket raffle items, 30 gift cards and the door prize – a wheelbarrow filled with bubbly.
To spread the word about her raffle, she posted it pretty much everywhere:

  • Facebook
  • Parishes
  • Senior citizen recreation halls
  • Knights of Columbus
  • Breast Cancer Center of WNY
  • Various Bee newspapers
  • WGRZ event page

Once again, her results were incredible. She raised more than $3,400 at the raffle. Additionally, her Chipotle fundraiser raised $450 (she has not collected her donations yet from Lean Nation or Buffalo Collective).

What Drives Her

The craziest thing about Janice’s efforts this year is she already had made her fundraising minimum before all these fundraisers. Why keep going?
The extra money isn’t going to her, but rather to help her friends meet the minimum for the Empire State Ride.
“I was so happy because now my friends and I can all ride together.”
Her passion and kindness are truly helping change the world for the better.