How a Facebook Fundraiser Helps Us Remember

A Devastating Diagnosis

It was supposed to be a relaxing trip to Pittsburgh for her niece’s First Communion for Tara Downey. However, stomach discomfort and swelling in her legs led to a trip to the emergency room. A routine visit to see family quickly turned devastating – doctors had found a tumor in Tara’s abdomen.

Tara headed home to the Kansas City area with her husband, Kevin, and was admitted to the Shawnee Mission Medical Center. Her daughter, Tyler, remembers knowing things weren’t looking good during a visit to the ICU.

“She told me, ‘I’m not worried about me; I’ve had a really good life. I’m just worried about you and your brother and your Dad. I’m OK with what’s happening.’ So, she knew how bad things were, but she always, always put other people first,” Tyler said.

The initial trip to the emergency room came on May 6, 2017. Just 17 days after her initial diagnosis, on May 23, Tara passed away.


A Way to Honor and Remember

For the Downey family, losing Tara was devastating. But Tyler and her brother, Patrick, knew they wanted to honor her memory, and they were inspired by a speech we all know and love.

“Growing up, we were always a basketball family,” said Patrick. “The year Mom passed, we watched Jim Valvano’s ESPYS speech, and we just thought there was no better way to remember Mom than to help raise money for cancer research. She always thought of others first.”

Patrick and Tyler took the lead in creating a Facebook fundraiser to support the V Foundation. The initial goal was to raise $250. They flew past that in the first 30 minutes after creating the fundraiser.

“We got to $1,000 the first day, which just goes to show the affect my mom had on people, and also how willing people are to contribute to a good cause,” said Patrick.

Why Facebook Fundraisers?

Facebook fundraisers have become a very popular way to raise money for charitable causes. In fact, since 2015, Facebook fundraisers have raised more than $2 billion for non-profits and personal causes. More than 45 million people have either created or donated to a Facebook fundraiser, a number that has more than doubled since last November.

They’ve become so popular because they make it simple on the fundraiser and the donor. With a few clicks, you can create a dedicated donation page and invite your Facebook friends to donate. Here’s how to start a Facebook fundraiser that benefits the V Foundation:

  1. Click “Fundraisers” in the left menu of your Facebook News Feed.
  2. Click “Raise Money” and select “Non-Profit.”
  3. Search for and select the V Foundation for Cancer Research as your selected charity.
  4. Fill in the required fundraising details, and click “Create.”

It’s as simple as that!

Don’t Ever Give Up

The first fundraiser to honor Tara Downey took place in the fall of 2017, and her family has now made it an annual tradition.

“Patrick and Tyler have spearheaded the efforts to not only raise funds, but also awareness of this deadly disease,” said Kevin.

The success of the fundraiser has continued to grow, and the event has continually raised more than $5,000 per year. And they have no plans to stop.

“My mom always wanted to give back, so we thought doing something charitable in her memory made sense,” said Tyler. “In her Facebook bio, she wrote, ‘I’m the happiest person you’ll ever meet.’ And I really do believe that. She was a life-loving person.”