Secretary and Aiden's Aunt!
It is hard to believe that Aiden’s Army has officially been a nonprofit organization for a year in just a few weeks, even harder to believe that we have been without Aiden for a year. We present to you our first year timeline of important events and accomplishments.
On January 4th we officially became a registered corporation in the state of Florida and registered as a non profit organization. Our mission: Locally and Nationally Aiden's Army provides care bags filled of comfort items to children under 2 battling cancer. We seek to raise awareness for Pediatric Cancer and provide toys, books, and pajamas to hospitals.
After lots and lots of paperwork we submitted our 501c3 application to the IRS. Our first few care packages were sent out as well as our first newsletter and special valentine’s day cards and treats to some very deserving kids.
In three months we provided 11 children under 2 with care bags, 17 children were given yellow ribbon beads, and we were able to sponsor 3 children so they could receive Beads of Courage for an entire year! These beads were always a favorite of Aiden and he loved to play with them. They show the journey that children take and are a visual representation of what they have had to endure. The company Wubbanub also donated 20 wubbanubs for us to include in our care bags when they found out it was one of the main items. They also allow us to purchase more at a discounted price.
Two big events happened in April. Our first Paint Nite brought in over $600 (by the way, you might want to check our website we have a few at the beginning of 2017). We also held our first Angel Run/Ride/Walk which allowed you to register individually or as a team to run, ride, or walk to raise awareness for pediatric cancer and honor those who have lost their lives because of cancer. We will be doing this again in 2017 as it was a huge success and brought in $3300 and allowed us to donate $500 directly to St.Baldrick’s for pediatric cancer research. Our 501c3 status was also made official.
By May we had sent out a total of 16 care bags and our Pajama Drive to benefit Roswell Park, Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, and Florida Hospital for children took place.
Our Pajama Drive collected over 600 pairs of pajamas (this will be a yearly collection) and were delivered to the hospitals on June 16th (the day Aiden was born). We held lots of raffles and giveaways in June as it was the month Aiden was diagnosed and born so it holds a special place in our hearts. We also applied to the Amazon Smile program
July was a big month for me, i shaved my head with a group called the 46 Mommas and personally raised over $1300 for pediatric cancer research. I met so many amazing parents of children who have had, currently have, or passed away because of cancer and also got to tour a clinic near Las Vegas (where we shaved) and see how they work with pediatric cancer patients. We also did our balloon pop fundraiser and raised $540 in just one week and had given out a total of 20 care bags. We had a last minute 50/50 raffle as well.
I was given the opportunity to review a book called Childhood Cancer; A Parent’s Guide to Solid Tumor Cancers. I reviewed it in the newsletter and thought it was a great resource for those whose child is going through cancer. You can now shop through Amazon Smile ( https://smile.amazon.com/ch/81-0994489 ) and Aiden’s Army will recieve .05% of your eligible purchases.
Well September was a huge month with lots of fun raffles and giveaways. I submitted a request to Niagara Falls and it was lit up gold on the 1st for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I was also able to get Orlando FL and Lake County to proclaim September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I was able to attend CureFest and meet so many other parents of children with cancer, childhood cancer advocates, and other nonprofits. It was an amazing event that had us marching through Washington DC and doing a candelight vigil outside of the White House. We also had two amazing events Catch the Wave to Wipeout Childhood Cancer brought in over $3000 and an Alex and Ani Fundraiser at Diann’s Boutique in NJ brought in almost $2000. We held an online auction as well bringing in $500.
A relatively slow month compared to September but our total care bags sent out now totals 27. We also donated over 60 pairs of socks to Cards for Kids silly sock drive.
Our toy drive to benefit Florida Hospital for Children has started and toys will be delivered in December. We received several large donations for this and our so incredibly grateful. We held the first toy drive last year before we were even a non profit and this year it is shaping up to be even bigger!
We donated more than 10 large moving boxes of new toys to Florida Hospital for Children and 2 large boxes of used toys and books. We also sent out 13 gifts across the US to children with cancer and many Christmas cards as well. We have been in contact with a few parents of children newly diagnosed at the recommendation to them from friends or family and were able to reach out, offer advice and help, and just be there for them to vent to.
We want to thank you all again for your generosity and support in our first year and hope you continue to support our mission in the coming years. If you have any questions at all please do not hesitate to reach out to us!
Treasurer and Aiden's Grandpa!
Founder, President, and Aiden's Mom!
Another year has gone by and we are growing and spreading awareness more and more each month. Here is just a brief look at what we accomplished this year.
A new shirt design and campaign helped us raise over $300 and we sent out 8 care packages to children 2 or under. A Painting with a Purpose Fundraiser was held in New York State to raise money for Aiden's Army and raised just over $300 as well.
In February we were blessed to speak at a Florida ACTeens conference where the girls also helped us create over 70 Valentine's themed packages to send out to children currently in treatment for cancer.
Most of March saw us preparing for our 2nd Annual Angel Run/Ride/Walk but we also held a LuLaRoe fundraiser that brought in $250. We sent out some hand made Easter cards with an Easter charm bead to children currently going through treatment- this bead was meant to be used in conjunction with the Beads of Courage program that many children with life threatening illnesses participate in.
We donated $250 of the money raised during our Angel Run/Ride/Walk to pediatric cancer research this month. We ended up raising about $2000 and were able to put some of that towards our care packages and some towards the Pajama Drive we were collecting for.
Most of May saw us collecting more pajamas for the pajama drive for Florida Hospital for Children in Orlando,FL and Women and Children's Hospital in Buffalo,NY. We also started using the Facebook Page more instead of the original closed group we had started with as it allowed people to share our information and important stories and facts easier. If you haven't liked us on Facebook you should check it out to stay informed of everything we are doing.
Due to a recent move of the hospital Women and Children's was only able to take a few boxes of pajamas so most of them this year went to Florida Hospital for Children. When we went to drop them off they told us how the pajamas we brought them last year had just run out and that because we had brought so many new pajamas in they had to stop accepting other clothing donations. They were very thankful for all the pajamas (and toys) we continue to bring them.
July was a slow month, we were able to send out a few more care packages but most of the month was spent planning for future activities and reaching out to places to see if they would light up gold in September.
We reached out to even more buildings and landmarks asking them about going gold in September and reached out to several companies as well. We even reached out to news channels and talk shows asking them to feature stories about Pediatric Cancer during the month of September.
September was a huge month with lots of fun raffles and giveaways. We again submitted a request to Niagara Falls and it was lit up gold on the 1st for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.We also were able to get Orlando FL and Lake County to proclaim September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month for the second year in a row. This year not only were we able to attend CureFest and meet so many other parents of children with cancer, childhood cancer advocates, and other nonprofits, but we had a table set up as well. It was an amazing event that had us marching through Washington DC and doing a candelight vigil outside of the White House.
We were able to send out a few more care packages and we also sent some Halloween window clings, cards, and beads to children currently on treatment for cancer. The Beads of Courage program was an important aspect of Aiden's journey and he loved getting new beads (even if we hated what each bead stood for) so we are pleased to continue offering holiday beads to add to these children's stories. We started selling handmade ornament wreaths as a fundraiser this year and will offer them again next year.
Our toy drive to benefit Florida Hospital for Children started and toys were delivered in December. We received several large donations and many many small donations for this and our so incredibly grateful. We even got another huge box of pajamas in that had been collected back in June. It came to our attention that many people were no longer receiving our emails- it seems that when the company we use to send out our newsletters was bought by another company some issues occurred for us, we started looking into new options.
We donated all the toys we collected to Florida Hospital for Children and sent out pillowcases and holiday cards and beads out to 15 children. We continued looking into new email newsletter options as well as new website builder options. We are also considering (based on suggestions from many people) selling our handmade crafts and using the profits to further help Aiden's Army. We sent out a total of 17 care bags this year.
A childhood cancer advocate and one of Aiden's biggest fans!
Vice President and Aiden's Grandma!
One of Aiden's Honorary Family Members!