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Free to Breathe Hero: June Craig

  • September 19 2017

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    Free to Breathe Hero: June Craig

    June Craig fundraises almost year-round for the Kansas City Free to Breathe Walk. In the last seven years, she has singlehandedly raised over $50,000 for lung cancer research.

    “My sister, Gail, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2010,” June explained. “I needed to find something that I could pour my grief and energy into since I could not help her.” Gail lost her 14-month battle with lung cancer on Feb. 24, 2012. June added, “the pain of her loss is still unbearable, so I continue to fight for others and raise money in the hope for a cure.”

    Team Gail has already raised over $10,700 this year, with the help of a number of special fundraising activities. In Olathe, KS, June put an event together with two musical acts as well as a silent auction and raffle. In her hometown, Mt. Pleasant, AR, June’s cousin organized a gun raffle and fishing tournament. Two friends put together a music event along with a garage sale, two silent auctions, and a cookout. All food and items for the events are donated.

    Team Gail’s last event this season is scheduled on Oct. 7 at Stone Pillar Winery and will feature a silent auction, games, kids’ inflatables and music by three different performers. “There’s no way I could have accomplished my goals without my friends stepping up and offering to help,” June said.

    June shared her timeline for fundraising success.

    • She begins her annual fundraising push on Feb. 24, the anniversary of Gail’s passing, by sending out a bulk email and posting on Facebook.
    • As she’s preparing for the current year’s events, she posts pictures of previous events weekly on Facebook.
    • Every month, she emails reminders to friends and coworkers. June is a property manager, so she also reaches out to her list of contractors.
    • Annual supporters receive a special email asking them to continue their support. 
    • She begins thinking about ideas for fundraisers in February. These have included garage sales, cookouts, a fishing tournament, and silent auctions. She contacts musician friends to ask them to perform for events, and she asks businesses to donate items for auction.
    • Once she schedules a fundraising event, she posts weekly reminders on Facebook.

    “The bottom line is, I constantly bug everyone until they get donations in or offer their help,” June said. “I work on fundraising 9 to 10 months out of the year. Even though I wasn't able to help Gail, I am now helping others in her memory. It's become my passion.”

    Although June often feels the pressure of trying to out-perform her previous years’ goals, she says her effort is worth it when all is said and done. “My first year, 2011, I took the second place fundraising ribbon home to Gail. I promised her that next time, I’d bring her first place. She died before the 2012 event, but I kept my word and have been the top fundraiser every year since.”

    “I couldn’t do it without my family and friends putting up with my craziness, because – trust me – I get pretty crazy by event day. But I know they join me in praying that someday, cancer will be a thing of the past.” 

    2 comments

Comments

  1. Linda 02:26pm, 09/29/2017

    THIS IS SO WONDERFUL!!
    Congratulations June!

  2. Jana 04:21am, 09/30/2017

    You are my hero, June!
    I’m so proud to call you my friend, and so very,  very proud of how hard you work to raise money to fight cancer - for Gail and for so many others that are still fighting to win their battles.

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