This summer, CCF community members across the country united their friends, family, and neighbors through a variety of unique and successful Community Fundraising events benefiting the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation’s research and patient services programs. Thank you to everyone who planned a fundraiser, attended an event, or donated in support of a friend or family member's fundraiser. The funds and awareness these events bring have a significant impact, and we are grateful for the time, creativity, and passion that each of these fundraisers share with CCF and their communities!
Hosting a Community Fundraiser is a fantastic way to educate your community on cholangiocarcinoma, raise awareness and funds, and have fun together! Check out some of the phenomenal events that took place this summer below. Please click here, if you are interested in hosting a CCF Community Fundraiser.
The Husky Open
The Husky Open started as a yearly golf outing amongst friends but took on new meaning when one of the planners of the outing, Stephen "Husk" McAllister, was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma at the age of 28.
This year, on June 10th, Stephen’s friends came together in Oak Lawn, Illinois, for another day of golf organized by Stephen’s parents and his best friend Chris Donahue. This time, the goal was to celebrate Stephen’s memory and raise funds for the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation in his name. Seventy golfers participated in the tournament, and 100 guests attended the event’s afterparty, raising nearly $10,000 in crucial funds to raise awareness about this rare cancer and promote resources to find earlier diagnoses and more treatment options.
When reflecting on the event's success, Stephen’s mom, MaryJo McAllister, said, “The Golf Outing and afterparty were a great success, just so much fun! We were complimented by all participants and even the band on what a great day it was. When I spoke on stage that night, I made sure that my focus was awareness and working towards earlier diagnosis and therapies for a cancer that many have never heard of. My Stephen is the reason! He is my everything! I will be his voice for the rest of my life.”
Kathy & Billy’s Yankee Game Fundraiser
On July 8th, 59 people attended the fourth Yankee Game Fundraiser hosted by Vassilios “Billy” Tsafos in memory of his late wife, Katherine “Kathy” Byrnes-Tsafos, benefiting the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation. The event raised $14,500 for CCF, and the Yankees won the game! The fundraiser started in 2019 when Kathy and Billy had the idea to bring their friends and family together for fun and baseball and to raise funds for CCF, which was a support for Kathy after her cholangiocarcinoma diagnosis.
Though Kathy passed away in December of 2021, Billy still hosts their event in her memory. “I want to continue this annual tradition in honor of Kat and also raise money for research, which is key for this rare cancer we’ve been affected with.” Billy explains, “Hopefully, the money raised will help find a cure so patients and their families won't have to suffer like those who have unfortunately passed from cholangiocarcinoma.”
Maestro’s Men Benefit Concert
Grammy-nominated Hall of Fame polka musician, Dennis Polisky, hosted a benefit concert on June 9th in Three Rivers, Massachusetts, in memory of his late wife, Karen Polisky.
Despite some rain, there was a great turnout, and the event raised over $3,000 for critical cholangiocarcinoma research. Karen was an enthusiastic supporter of Dennis and his band, Maestro’s Men, and he felt playing was a fantastic way to honor her memory. “I have been blessed to be performing for many years; all I give credit to is my late wife.” Dennis stated, “This all cannot bring my late wife back, but I pray this event will raise some money to help others in some way.”
Stacy Steven’s Birthday Fundraiser
CholangioConnect Mentor and patient, Stacy Stevens, chose to celebrate her birthday this June by starting a social media fundraiser benefiting the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation. Her fundraiser raised over $10,400 in just a few short weeks. This breaks the record for the most funds raised from an individual social media fundraiser benefiting CCF. A record set by Stacy herself when she raised over $10,000 for her birthday last year! CCF is grateful Stacy shared her birthday with the Foundation for the last two years, bringing in over $20,000 for research and patient services.
Crush Cholangio Jeep Jam & Festival
Cholangiocarcinoma patient Lori Smyth began organizing the Crush Cholangio Jeep Jam fundraiser in Baltimore, Maryland, to bring Jeep owners together for a day of fun, games, and community. After Lori passed away on May 20, 2023, before the event, her good friend Wendy Ingram took over for Lori and continued planning the event to honor her friend’s memory. Many members of Lori’s community came out to the event to celebrate her on June 24th raising over $3,000 for cholangiocarcinoma research and patient services.
Michelle’s Hot Peeps Beat CC 5K
Longtime CCF supporter, John McDonald, hosted the sixth annual Michelle’s Hot Peeps Beat CC 5K in Taylor, Texas, on August 12th in memory of his late wife, Michelle McDonald, who passed away from cholangiocarcinoma.
Despite the sweltering 105-degree heat, over 80 runners came to Murphy Park to race. There were 133 participants total, including “virtual” runners and supporters, an increase over the previous year’s attendance, raising over $14,000 - the largest amount raised from the race in its six years!
Michelle’s Hot Peeps is one of CCF’s longest-running annual events, growing in popularity every year since it began in 2018, raising over $65,000 cumulatively for CCF research and patient services. John plans to continue hosting this event every summer to honor Michelle’s memory and love for fitness while uniting his community to raise awareness and funds.