Rachel Morrissey will never forget the day she was diagnosed with melanoma. “It was the 16th of June and I went to the hospital for a fine needle biopsy. The doctor said I had nothing to really worry about because I was so young.”
It was a statement supported by melanoma statistics: 7% of the more than 75,000 people diagnosed with melanoma in the U.S. every year are between the ages of 20-34. The likelihood of malignant cells was minimal. “Three hours later the doctor called me and said, ‘this is really serious. We need to perform surgery.’”
Ten months have passed and Rachel is celebrating her first birthday (today!) since being diagnosed. In honor of today’s special occasion, Rachel decided to launch a Birthday Wish on Causes.com to help raise money for the Melanoma Research Foundation – an organization with the mission to fund research into the treatment toward a cure of melanoma, and to act as a resource to patients, families and friends. Rachel asked her network to contribute a minimum of $26 for her 26th birthday, for a grand total of $10,000. It was her intention to contribute to a cause that, in so many words, could help save her life, and save others like her.
Initially, Rachel emailed friends she thought would be interested in supporting her and asked them to forward to other friends who might be willing to read her story and help. From there, she asked her community of Twitter followers, especially those with lots of friends, to retweet her cause. “Within 24 hours I had raised two thousand dollars. It was incredible! I was refreshing [my page] every few minutes.”
Rachel had always been supportive of fundraising drives for good causes; she had raised money in the past for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) through their Team In Training program, which provides sports endurance training to raise money for cancer research and patient care.
Rachel’s Birthday Wish, which includes 70 different donors from her community of friends and family, has helped raise over $4,000 as of this posting. “People have come out of the woodwork and have been so sweet and kind. I’ve been amazed by people’s love and generosity.”
The community she built, comprised of new and old friends, has been a profound experience. “A lot of times I feel alone, but seeing all of those names and all of those well wishes, I feel super supported by everyone.”
Rachel’s only regret? “I wish that I had turned [an older age] because I would have raised more money!”
You can visit Rachel’s official page and wish her a happy birthday!
For more help on starting your own wish, visit our official Wishes page.