30 Stories in 30 Days
September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month. For the next 4 weeks, we will post stories written by cancer survivors, caregivers and friends for our 30 Stories in 30 Days campaign. We hope their perspectives and insight will help others along their journey.
Six years ago, Caitlyn Bomalaski’s grandmother, Joan Burgess passed away from anaplastic thyroid cancer—the rarest and most aggressive form of thyroid cancer. Shortly thereafter, Caitlyn discovered the THANC Foundation and sent us an email hoping to team up to raise money. She and her mother, Karen Donikowski, wanted to hold an event in honor of Joan, and in support of the Foundation’s mission. They established the first “Check Up from the Neck Up” Benefit which was a huge success. Caitlyn and Karen have organized the whole affair with the help of their tight-knit circle of friends and family in order to hold the annual Check Up from the Neck Up each September – the month Joan had passed away. They have raised money by selling t-shirts, holding events at local restaurants, partnering with local baseball teams, and receiving donations. Since that first fundraiser in 2012, the crowd, the prizes and the proceeds have all gotten bigger. In 2016 they had to move the event to a larger space to accommodate the growing crowd where they raised nearly $3500 for THANC! Caitlyn & Karen are vibrant, enterprising women whose hope and strength inspire a community to rally around them. Their tireless efforts and tremendous endurance show that it only takes a bit of willpower and a big heart to achieve outstanding results. This year’s Check Up from the Neck Up is Star Wars themed. And it’s Caitlyn’s intention to give us all A New Hope.