How the ChangeWorks! Foundation Started
In January of 2014, a 12-year old young man named Christopher was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma, a rare cancer that is even more rare among children. A friend of Christopher’s was informed of the diagnosis by her parents, which led to the formation of fundraising efforts to assist the family with the costs of Christopher’s treatment. Four young women called a lunch meeting the day after learning of Christopher’s diagnosis with administrative staff and teachers from Luther Burbank Middle School, and coordinated a fundraising effort to raise money to help the family with Christopher’s treatment costs. The four girls set a goal with the school faculty of raising $750.
Unfortunately Christopher lost his battle with cholangiocarcinoma, also called bile duct cancer, on March 20th, 2014. This was only 74 days after he was diagnosed with the condition. Christopher was one of the youngest to have ever contracted this form of cancer, and it is unclear as to why it attacked him at such a young age. The community was understandably devastated and the outpouring of support for Christopher’s family has been tremendous.
There was another outcome that was completely unexpected. Christopher’s grandmother informed the girls that because of their campaign with the wristbands and their awareness efforts, over $15,000 was raised and given to the family as a direct result of their efforts. Further, ChangeWorks! fundraisers spread across the entire community, including schools, churches, and other community-based organizations.