Terry White
Terry White

Thank You Donors
Friday, February 17
As the days gradually grow longer up here in the great North, the time has come for my journey to the southern part of Africa. Mt. Kilimanjaro's summit is calling my name – and the names of 14 other teammates that make up the 2017 Mt. Kilimanjaro Trek Team #MM4MM. We have all been training for the climb up to the 19,341-foot summit that will happen during our 8-day trek. 

We have all had a journey getting to this point. We all confronted fears and barriers in getting here. Being a member of the team is quite an honor and each one of us committed to raise $10,000 for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF). At the time, it seemed like a huge amount of money to raise.

When my two boys were young, they were both involved with youth activities that required many types of fundraising. We sold every kind of raffle ticket imaginable to raise money, mostly for travel expenses to other cities. Juneau has no roads leading in and out so we are inaccessible except by boat or plane. Travel to compete in other cities with our soccer, baseball and football teams was very expensive. Raising money just became the norm. People in Juneau are awesome about opening up their wallets to support our youth, and all it takes is a knock on the door. Boy Scout popcorn, car wash tickets, raffle tickets for soccer, raffle tickets for football, homerun cards for little league baseball – I've done them all. Oh, I can't forget the ever delicious Krispy Kreme doughnuts (400 dozen) that I air freighted from Seattle as a fundraiser for my son's soccer team!  

But this was a whole different level of fundraising. I was worried that I might not be able to reach my original goal of $10,000. That seemed like such a large amount to have to raise on my own. Could I do it? Who will contribute to my cause? Kelley, the MMRF's manager for our team, assured us that the fundraising would not be that difficult and that we had lots of tools to work with and not to worry. 

I haven't had much experience with the social media scene. Having grown up in the '70s without computers or smart phones, fundraising via social media and e-mail has been an eye opening experience for me, and I'm amazed at the success that I have experienced. It is truly incredible!

All of us have our own personal page that links to the donate page. Click, pick and give! WOW. It's that simple. After I posted for the first time, I sat back and watched my anxiety begin to build. Am I going to be able to make the $10,000 commitment? I had provided my credit card number as a guarantee, so at least I would have made a bunch of miles with my mileage program. I was a bit worried because I was a late addition to the team and a little behind the eight ball, so I had to play catch up.

Then, my first donation came in and I was notified via email! Simply amazing to say the least! As the days and weeks went by, the donations started coming in and I was like, “WOW” this is pretty cool… $25, $50 and then $100. They started adding up, and then I received a $500 donation that blew me away! Each donation made me very happy and humble that folks would donate to my #MM4MM effort. By late October, I was a little over halfway to my goal and had received some commitments from my brother, who had been spreading the word, of some pretty nice amounts that would be coming soon. I was excited to be closing in on my $10,000 goal. My father-in-law has been a huge supporter and he sent emails to all of his friends and family challenging them with matching contributions. His efforts and his donations generated over $3,000 over the course of the campaign.

Then on October 21, I opened the most remarkable email from a man that had read a front page story about me in the Juneau Empire. He looked at the MMRF webpage and found more information about the fundraising efforts. He wrote that he lost his father to multiple myeloma in May 2015. He shared a bit about his company and all the things that we had in common. We both operate charter boats in Southeast Alaska and both love sharing the beauty of Alaska with folks from all over. The Boat Company operates two large vessels and takes people on extended adventures throughout SE Alaska. They offer first class accommodations for their guests and have a great reputation. My business, Juneau Adventures, operates day trips out of Auke Bay in Juneau. He ended his email by letting me know he was sending a check to my fundraising effort in the amount of $5,000 and wished me good luck! I was overwhelmed. I showed my wife the email, and we were both overcome with emotion. I called Hunter the next day and had a great conversation. I learned about his father and all his efforts to help preserve the beauty of SE Alaska. What an amazing family!

The donations kept coming in and I received several more 'Angel' donations from my old friend Gary V and Capt. Mike (according to my wife, he is my bromance throughout the charter season) – $1,000 each. It has been the most humbling experience.

Cancer sucks – PERIOD! 

It's not a club that anybody joins voluntarily and if and when you do, there are two paths. With the support and encouragement from folks like KC, Gayle, Janice, MAC, Doug, Deb, Frank, Liz and others, I have charged into the multiple myeloma battle, continue to educate myself and try to support those that are new to the club and haven't learned the “ropes.”

The Team for Cures does so much more than raise money. It brings people together for a common cause, and I am so proud to be a member of the 2017 Mt. Kilimanjaro Trek Team. In being a part of this, in wearing my bright orange Moving Mountains shirt, I make connections, raise awareness and money for research that prolongs lives. I believe that there will be a cure in the very near future.

I had to change my goal amount on my fundraising page from $10,000 to $15,000 and felt pretty stoked about that. Then, when I surpassed $15,000, and raised it to $20,000, I wondered, “How the heck did this happen?” I was so nervous when I first signed on about making my original commitment and now, I'm in awe!  

I'm just a regular guy from small town Juneau that handles cargo for Alaska Airlines and takes folks out fishing and whale watching in the summer. I feel so humbled by all the people that have demonstrated their love, hope and faith in me with their generosity.   

The 15-member team will do great, and there will be lots of photos, videos and interviews as we climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. During this climb, we will get the media attention, etc. And the rest of the team, the donors, are behind the scenes. Thank you for opening your wallets so generously. Just like the folks in Juneau did when my son Andrew would knock on our neighbor’s door and say "Hi Lynette, it's just me, Andrew, selling more raffle tickets," so many years ago. Thank you for opening your door when I knocked.

Thanks so much to all the donors on behalf of the 2017 Mt. Kilimanjaro team as we climb towards a cure! 
Interested in multiple myeloma updates from CURE®? Sign up for our newsletter!

Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation

View our interviews with climber Chuck Wakefield
Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy