Ever since his first encounter with 24 Foundation Charlotte in 2009, Ben Parrish has had nothing but a continually great experience each year. As a student at Queens University during that year, he was familiar with the ride and was convinced that he should sign-up to ride. Four years later, he is still going strong. Like many other riders, he had a very personal connection to cancer.
“My father, grandmother and aunt were all impacted at one point or another,” said Ben Parrish, Charlotte rider and Booty Organizing Committee member. “In 2012, I was planning on riding in the memory of a friend and mentor, Mac McInerny, who had lost his battle over the holidays.”
2012 was a pivotal year for Ben after learning his brother Dan had been diagnosed with a brain tumor, which as he described “nearly paralyzed him with concern.” Thankfully for Ben’s brother Dan, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy treatments put him on the road to recovery. Ben’s experience with his brother’s diagnosis made the 2012 24 Foundation that much more special to him as it was an opportunity for him to absorb all that was happening in the cancer community.
“I learned more that year and was able to put so much in context of the larger picture of how 24 Foundation fits into the cancer support community,” Ben said.
After getting a deeper perspective of the mission and vision of 24 Foundation, Ben aspired to better engage his peers about the event, organization and its financial purpose. This desire incited him to begin organizing grassroots events to fundraise for and spread the word about 24 Foundation.
“It is amazing to me that for as many years as 24 Foundation has been around, that there are people in Charlotte who still are not aware of it,” Ben said. “It is getting to share the origin story of the ride all the way through to the great work being done at the Levine Cancer Institute. With my wife Laney’s support, we have done several events in support of Booty.”
Fortunately, they have been able to combine their love for baking and cooking BBQ to create many successful grassroots events. Each event has been a success and helped tremendously with Ben’s individual fundraising. In the process, Ben has also been able to recruit new riders who are also highly dedicated to raising money and giving back to a good cause.
“The most rewarding aspect is having people tell me how they have become engaged after an event that we host,” Ben said. “Whether they have told friends who later signed up to ride, or that they know where they can start in helping their friends and family after a cancer diagnosis. One of the most amazing aspect of 24 Foundation to me is the support network of riders, friends and family that it creates amongst all the people involved, not just those riding.”
Ben’s grassroots fundraising events proved to be very successful and earned him a spot as a top fundraiser and yellow jersey recipient in Charlotte. You too can gain success from grassroots fundraising events. 24 Foundation Atlanta is just two weeks away, that means it’s time to ramp up your fundraising efforts! Check out fundraising event ideas here — there is sure to be an event that peaks your interest. Have ideas you’d like to bounce off someone else? Need help implementing? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 877-365-4117.