When Wendy Ericsson, Host Committee Chair of the National Race to End Women’s Cancer, was diagnosed with stage 4 uterine cancer in December 2012, her doctor suggested that she look up the Foundation for Women’s Cancer (FWC) for information and support. “I learned about their free survivors courses, and decided to attend the one in Washington, DC in early November 2013,” said Wendy, 59, of Lansdale, PA. “It was there that I learned there was a race the next day, and although I could not attend that year, I vowed to return in 2014!”
Since 2014 Wendy has raised more than $70,000 for FWC through her team Wendy’s Warriors. Her team has been in the top five race fundraisers since 2015, and was the top fundraising team for the last two years raising $28,697 in 2018 alone. Wendy’s Warriors is hoping to hit the $30,000 mark this year for a total of more than $100,000 raised for FWC.
“I use social media–primarily Facebook–and I email absolutely everyone I know,” Wendy explained. “I probably even email people I don’t know! If I have the email address, they get an ‘ask’ from me. I ask my friends and family to share the information as well. I talk about it at church, and hand out my card at any opportune moment. I try to make sure that our donors don’t just consider it ‘giving money’–they are giving HOPE.”
With help from her husband George, other family members, friends, and her niece Lindsay Sweet, who is co-captain of Wendy’s Warriors, the team hosts several fundraising events throughout the year.
“The easiest are the restaurant fundraisers, where the restaurant agrees to donate a percentage of their profits for the day,” said Wendy. “I set up a table with information and talk to people as they come to dine. We have also done Painting with a Twist, online fundraisers for Pampered Chef and jewelry, Cooking for a Cause, Scent and Sip–where you design a custom scent and then add it to lotions, candles, or a product of your choice–and this year we had a perennial plant sale in the spring.”
The team’s signature event is the Dine and Dance, in Telford, PA on Sept. 28. “We have a live band, buffet, silent auction and raffle,” said Wendy. “Last year we had over 100 people in attendance and are hoping for an even bigger crowd this year.”
Wendy offered several reasons why she is passionate about the National Race to End Women’s Cancer.
“If I have to have this disease, and suffer through the treatments with all of their nasty side effects, then at least I can make something good come out of it,” she said. “Raising research funds and bringing awareness is one way to do that. It seems like every time I host a public event a woman will approach me with her own story. She may have felt alone and is glad to meet someone else, or she may be a long-term survivor and wants to offer me hope.
“Years ago, you could not say ‘breast cancer’ in public. People don’t even blink when you say it now, and over $9,000 is raised for every woman who dies from the disease,” Wendy added. “A little over $500 is raised for every woman who dies from a gynecologic (gyn) cancer. I would like to even that out and make gyn cancer as easy to talk about as breast cancer.”