With generous community support, the second annual Dana-Farber and Jimmy Fund Giving Day raised an incredible $1.17 million, more than double the 2020 total. Making the milestone possible was an anonymous Institute Trustee who matched all gifts up to $250,000, several donors who stepped up with large donations, and even a King—a pediatric patient at Dana-Farber’s Jimmy Fund Clinic who shared his story of what Dana-Farber has meant to him and his family. Giving Day, held on May 26, closely followed the public announcement of The Dana-Farber Campaign the previous week, with its rallying cry to “Defy Cancer.” It marked the launch of the Dana-Farber Defy Cancer Fund, which provided motivation and purpose for more than 3,700 donors from across the country to offer their financial support to the strategic priorities of The Dana-Farber Campaign: Revolutionary Science, Extraordinary Care, Exceptional Expertise, and Essential Opportunities.
Leading up to Giving Day and throughout May 26, patients shared stories via email and social media, demonstrating the need for support but also the excellence of the care and research at Dana-Farber. King, for example, who is still in treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia with an excellent prognosis, was particularly inspiring and emotional for some donors. During the effort, his mother, Nasharis, told the community, “I look at my son and think about all he has been through already. I admire him. He’s my hero. These children are strong and resilient. They are our future.”
The message from a pediatric cancer patient like King and his family touched many. Loyal supporters Arthur and Denise Katsaros committed $100,000 to Giving Day to help fulfill the Defy Cancer Fund match. “Our family was touched by pediatric cancer a number of years ago,” commented Arthur. “We understand the toll it takes on families and we’re so pleased we are able to help others through Dana-Farber.”
Another story that encouraged the community to make generous gifts to Dana-Farber was that of Jillian, who in 2016 completed treatment for stage IIB Hodgkin lymphoma at Dana-Farber. “Defying cancer means being proud of myself,” she explained. “It took me a long time to be able to share my cancer story with others.”
The unsurpassed generosity of the community of donors will enable Dana-Farber to pursue innovative early stage research; speed new drugs into clinical trials; maintain a world-class research and clinical team; increase access to care and reduce disparities; meet unanticipated needs, such as those imposed by COVID-19; and even support special programs that address the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs of patients and families.
The generosity of our donors during Giving Day will go a long way in achieving The Dana-Farber Campaign’s important quest to defy cancer.