Who would have thought that $109.50 in fundraising efforts, could turn into $750,000 and in just a few short months?
That is exactly what happened when Jocelyn Taylor decided she and her friends should do something to make more people cancer aware.
Jocelyn, a sixth grader at Cut Bank Middle School and the daughter of Cherie and Jason Taylor, said, “We wanted to raise money for cancer awareness and it all started back in November of 2018.”
Jocelyn said she and her friends were talking about how their grandparents had cancer and how they wanted to find a way to “help people that had cancer and it wasn’t too late for them like our grandparent.”
Jocelyn and her friends, Michaela Osborne and Addison Evans, started putting their heads together to come up with a plan.
“The first thing we started thinking about was a bake sale, because we are all good bakers. We weren’t too sure if we wanted to do this or not. But a couple days later, a kid made fun of me and called me a goody-two-shoes and that put me over the edge. I am that one person that hates bullies, so that day I went up to my friends and told them what had happened and that is when everything came into play.”
Jocelyn’s mom, Cherie, offered a suggestion for their fundraising efforts, telling the girls that the mobile mammography coach that comes to Cut Bank to do mammograms had to be replaced and Kalispell Regional Healthcare was raising funds for it.
“The girls thought that was a great idea for helping prevent cancer since that was their whole purpose in making a difference,” Cherie said. “The girls wanted to do something to help other grandkids not have to experience the sadness of seeing their grandparents struggle with cancer.”
Once they knew where the money they were going to raise was going to go, they got busy planning their fundraiser, a bake sale at the Lewis and Clark Festival, held a few months ago in July.
They talked about having some t-shirts made that they would wear at their bake sale, what those would look like, what their sign for the table would look like and how the table would be setup and finally, what they were going to make. “We started looking at so many cookbooks, it was insane,” Jocelyn exclaimed. “I might sound dramatic, but that’s because I am a teenager.”
A few weeks before the Lewis and Clark Festival, the girls found out it would cost them $50 to “rent” a space for their table where they would have their bake sale.
“Once we found out the cost, we started to lose hope that we wouldn’t be able to help with the mammo coach. We thought it was over and we wouldn’t be able to help raise money anymore. But then my mom surprised me and told me that we wouldn’t have to pay the money at all because the hospital would let us use their tent at the chili cook-off,” Jocelyn said.
The new and inspiring news was delivered the night before the festival, but that did not deter Jocelyn, a woman on a mission.
“My two older sisters volunteered to help me bake the cookies the next morning. They made 160 cookies in four hours. I am really grateful for them. My friends’ families made baked goods too to raise money,” Jocelyn said.
She continued, “At first, nobody came around the little table, but after a while more and more people started to come around to buy cookies, pie, banana bread and pumpkin spice bread. It was one of the greatest times of my life. One guy that came up to the booth said that he used to have cancer, but a donor saved his life so he gave us $20 just for four cookies.”
The girls managed to raise $109.50 from their bake sale and gave their fundraising dollars to Kalispell Regional Healthcare with a note where it was to go.
The Kalispell Regional Healthcare Foundation received the money and said in a press release shortly after that, “At this year’s Lewis and Clark Festival in Cut Bank, three young girls took it upon themselves to raise money for the new coach by selling baked goods. Together they raised $109.50. Inspired by this story, donors have already begun sending matching donations to the Foundation in increments of $109.50.”
The message about their donation kept spreading and as of Oct. 1, the total committed for this project is $750,000.
“We shared this story at our major donor thank you dinner and one donor came to my office the following week and mentioned how inspired they were by the need and the effort of these three young ladies,” said Tagen Vine, President of the Kalispell Regional Healthcare Foundation. A challenge was issued and donations up to $500,000 will be matched, dollar for dollar. “Our goal is $1,020,000,” added Vine.
“Jocelyn taught me a lesson on give what you have and see what kind of influence it can bring. I wondered what impact could $109.50 have when they needed over a million dollars. Little did I know,” said Cherie.
During the 11 years the Winkley Women’s Center mobile mammography unit had been on the road, they racked up over 325,000 miles and performed over 21,000 mammography screenings aboard the coach. Of those screenings, 160 cancers were detected, making that mobile unit a valuable and life-saving commodity.
But that same unit is no longer operable and the 2d technology it contained was outdated. In order to continue having a mobile mammography service, the Kalispell Regional Healthcare Foundation began raising funds. In order to equip it with the newest 3D mammography technology, they would need over a million dollars.
Thanks to three young ladies and their fundraising inspirational efforts, half of that goal has been reached. Who knew $109.50 could become $750,000 in such a short time? Now, we all know just how far a little donation can go and just how important every single penny is in a fundraising campaign.
To make a donation to the Kalispell Regional Healthcare Foundation mobile mammography fund, visit krh.org/foundation or call 406-751-6930.