Barbara Sammut essay

Chronicle a successful raffle fundraising campaign you or a family member has been a part of. What results were achieved? How did it help the organization and/or the community it was meant to benefit? How did the experience enrich you?


When I was 9 years old, my younger brother (Chase, 7 yrs old at the time), passed away from a brain tumor, after a two year battle for his life which took all the focus and resources of our family.  When Chase’s condition declined rapidly, my father left his business to focus on caring for him.  As a result, his company ran into financial difficulty as well and eventually he filed for personal bankruptcy.  After Chase passed away, my parents divorced which resulted in even more grief through the loss of my family after the loss of my brother.  Since we could no longer afford the private school I was attending, I had to transfer to the public school and was forced to start over in terms of making friends, participating in different sports teams, etc.  Despite these obstacles, I was able to adjust to my new school (the International Academy) and excelled in their International Baccalaureate program as well as athletics.  This experience helped me to realize that regardless of the obstacles you face, if you persevere and have strong faith, everything will work out for the best.  I certainly wouldn’t want to repeat this experience but I believe I have become stronger as a result of what I endured. Now, I’m studying Biomedical Engineering and I am interested in developing a career in the medical device industry.  One of the main reasons this appeals to me is that through my brother’s two year struggle with brain cancer, I saw many different types of medical equipment. This has given a strong appreciation for the importance of medical devices in the care of critically ill patients.  I became interested in learning more about the different technologies and I am inspired to apply my skills to help improve patients’ care and treatment options.


Since then, my father and I have been conducting annual fundraisers for the Children’s Tumor Foundation (“CTF”).  This past year, we organized a golf outing and silent auction – we broadly distributed information / invitations regarding the fundraiser and solicited sponsors.  On the day of the event, as the participants were registering for the golf, we sold a “mulligan package” where the golfer would be able to use 2 mulligans during their golf outing and also receive 5 raffle tickets that could be used toward drawings for prizes that were donated by sponsors or other participants.  The participants would put the raffle tickets into a separate drawing for each of the items they were interested in.  Then, we sold additional raffle tickets that the participants could purchase to place in each of the drawings for items that they were interested in – there was no limit to the number of tickets that could be purchased and placed into each of the drawings.

The results of this fundraiser were tremendous – through this event, we raised over $30,000 for CTF, which was the largest fundraiser in the MidWest for this past year.  CTF is using the funds to sponsor research designed to find a cure or treatment options for pediatric tumors, including brain tumors.  CTF is currently the leading nonprofit funding source of pediatric tumors research in the world. Through the CTF research initiatives, progress is being made on all fronts and for all types of tumors; from discovery studies — understanding the molecular signaling deficits that cause the manifestations, to the preclinical drug screening initiatives and the emergence of a growing number of clinical trials. The Foundation advances research through strategically integrated programs that speed therapies from the lab to the patient.

After our fundraiser, we had some of the parents speak whose children are currently battling brain tumors.  Hearing them share about their struggles and the importance of the research CTF is sponsoring was very moving – the advances being made through the various studies being conducted by CTF was heartwarming.  We showed a video that chronicled the progress that some of the patients achieved through a clinical trial using a new treatment option.

This experience has been extremely inspiring for me as I continue my studies in Biomedical Engineering with plans to contribute to the advancements being made toward the development of treatment options for various conditions.


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