Photo courtesy of Open Hands Overflowing Hearts.
answer to cancer
Children play games at Answer to Cancer in 2014.
Hoover resident Kayla Perry is dedicated to finding an answer to cancer. She was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a pediatric cancer, in 2013, and in September 2014 she created Open Hands Overflowing Hearts (OHOH).
OHOH is dedicated to funding pediatric cancer research and raising awareness about the need for pediatric cancer research.
“That’s kind of what sparked her [Kayla’s] fire of having the foundation, is realizing how many doctors have to look at children and their parents and say, ‘I don’t know what to do with this,’ because they don’t know because there’s not enough research,” said Hayden Patton, OHOH director of development.
To raise money, OHOH hosts several events throughout the year, including Answer to Cancer in December. This year's event is Dec. 6 at Regions Field in downtown Birmingham.
Answer to Cancer is the end event for 100 Ways, 100 Days, a fundraiser that kicked off in September, as well as a chance to raise a lot of money. Last year’s event raised more than $150,000 and had around 1,000 attendees.
“Seeing how the organization [OHOH] didn’t even start until Sept. 1, all the planning for the event didn’t start until October,” Patton said. “So that’s pretty huge for an event.”
This year will have the same activities as last year’s Answer to Cancer — games, food, drinks, a silent and live auction, a kids zone, a live band and a few other surprises — but Patton said the goal is to raise even more money.
Patton said she hopes the event’s activities will attract attendance, but she also said the best reason to come is to support a good cause.
“The biggest reason is the cause,” she said. “Pediatric cancer is so underfunded, and this is our biggest event of the year to kind of bring together all of our efforts of the year and really end the year with a bang of raising as much money as we can.”
OHOH hopes to raise $1 million by the end of 2015, and Patton said they hope at least $200,000 is raised through Answer to Cancer. Sponsorships are one of the key ways to make sure Answer to Cancer is successful, Patton said, and they will accept sponsorships up until the week of the event. There are five levels of sponsorships, ranging from $500 to $10,000.
All money raised at the event will be donated to pediatric cancer research, and Patton said OHOH guarantees a portion of the money will remain local, going to Children’s of Alabama. She also said a unique quality of OHOH is its ability to be a filter for donations; they can help direct donations toward specific research projects or hospitals if a donor requests that.
OHOH’s growth over the last year and its influence as a young organization is amazing, Patton said, and she hopes that Answer to Cancer will help continue to spread that message.
“I believe people believe in Kayla,” she said. “I think that people believe in the cause and there is getting a lot more awareness where people are realizing how underfunded childhood cancer is.”
“We’re really excited about it,” Patton said. “We’re excited about this year being even bigger than last year.”
ANSWER TO CANCER
- Dec. 6, 4-8 p.m.
- Regions Field