Fairfax, Va.-based national nonprofit Bite Me Cancer, which supports teenagers with cancer and raises funds for thyroid cancer research, raised $55,000 at its third annual “Cancerversary” Dinner held April 23 at the Tower Club in Tysons Corner.
One-hundred fifty people attended the event to celebrate life with cancer survivors and their families, to honor those who have been lost to cancer and to mark the sixth “Cancerversary” of the Bite Me Cancer’s founder Nikki Ferraro.
“I am overwhelmed by the growth and success of our dinner,” Ferraro said. Attendance at this year’s event was 50 percent more than last year’s dinner and raised four times the amount of money raised at the 2015 event, according to foundation officials. “What began as a celebration for my fourth cancerversary in 2014 has blossomed into our major annual fundraiser.”
More than 35 cancer survivors who attended the dinner joined Ferraro at the conclusion of the event to cut a large “Cancerversary” cake.
Ferraro was diagnosed with a rare form of thyroid cancer in 2010 when she was 17. She started raising money for cancer research just weeks later before her first major cancer surgery.
Funds raised at the Cancerversary Dinner will be used primarily to support Bite Me Cancer’s Teen Cancer Support Bag Program, which has served teens in more than 70 hospitals in 29 states and in the District of Columbia. The support bags — designed specifically for teen patients — include a stress ball, a journal, Bite Me Cancer baseball cap, a water bottle, an iTunes gift card, a USB drive, a game book, playing cards and a Bite Me Cancer car magnet. Twelve hundred teen cancer patients received the bags in 2015, and more than 2,400 teens with cancer have received the bags since the Support Bag program’s inception four years ago.
Board chairman Bill Hoover, of AMERICAN SYSTEMS Systems, NVTC CEO Bobbie Kilberg, former CEO of McDonald Bradley Inc. Ken Bartee and Ferraro sat on the host committee for this year’s dinner.
For the first time, tables at the Cancerversary Dinner had corporate sponsors that included Baker Tilly, Virchow Krause LLP, Bluestone Capital Partners, AMERICAN SYSTEMS, Training Solutions, Addx Corporation, Merrill Lynch, Squire Patten Boggs, Suntiva LLC, Gov Place and Talent Sync LLC.
Related: Bite Me Cancer Foundation to Host Virginia’s First Teen Cancer Awareness Week, Jan. 18-24