It’s halfway through Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month and Mrs. South Carolina Strawberry Queen Dana Boutwell can hardly describe the outpouring of support she’s seen from the community for the cause.
“It has just been awesome, awesome, awesome,” she said.
Boutwell has organized a monthlong fundraiser and awareness campaign for September, National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The fundraiser, 30 Days for a Cure, spotlights a local business each day that has agreed to help Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a nonprofit organization that raises funds for pediatric cancer research.
Among the local businesses that have participated are Beef O’ Brady’s and Sam’s Xpress Car Wash.
In just the first week of September, 30 Days for a Cure raised $4,180.82, Boutwell reports.
Boutwell tries to visit the “good cookie” of the day and interact with residents supporting the business. She helped man the drive-thru at Culver’s on Sept. 4. With her crown atop her head, she handed out food to customers and took some time to smile and take pictures with a few.
Many wanted to share stories with her about how childhood cancer has affected them and their families, she said.
“It’s been amazing to me. I knew there were more stories out there but almost everyone has a story to share,” Boutwell said. “People have just been grateful that we’re raising awareness and asking what they can do to make a difference.”
In addition to the fundraiser, gold ribbons line Main Street in Fort Mill, Tega Cay Drive and Market Street in Baxter Village. Residents are also putting up gold ribbons on their mailboxes and front doors.
While that is all happening here at home, it’s also spreading throughout other communities, Boutwell said. In her hometown of Savannah, friends are asking how they can raise funds for pediatric cancer, and how they can organize similar fundraisers in their town.
“It’s spreading. People are reaching out and wanting to know what they can do,” Boutwell said.
“I never thought it would go outside our community, but that’s the wonderful thing about social media. It helps spread the awareness beyond our town. That’s something I did not expect but have been very grateful for.”