Stopping Cancer Early – The Best Possible Investment


Canary Challenge Team Highlight: Canary Peeps

July 23, 2014

By: Shannon Boselli, Canary Foundation Intern

As we begin to highlight outstanding Canary Challenge riders on our blog, we instantly knew a post would have to be about Hilary Valentine, our founder Don Listwin’s wife. Hilary has been with the Canary Foundation from its start, acting as a lead participant in the Challenge and a lead motivator in Don’s pursuit of cancer early detection. In addition to both of those roles, Hilary leads the Canary Peeps team—a group of riders/runners/walkers that include Hilary and Don’s friends and their kids. The team has members doing each route of the Challenge according to their ability, although most moms and kids do the 5k. Last year the Canary Peeps team boasted 43 members and raised over $78,000. This year Hilary believes they will double in both size and fundraising efforts.Untitled

The Canary Peeps fundraise in a unique way that affords them much success. Each member sends out witty, clever emails asking for sponsorship. Hilary’s friend Kristi sent out an email titled “Will You Support me on September 27th?” In it she described what the Canary Foundation does, what she has done for the Foundation, and what her goals are for her bike ride this year. Last year Kristi raised $5,000 and was one of the top 15 fundraisers at the Challenge. This year, she has provided incentives to her friends and family to donate to her cause. They are:

  1. “If I hit my goal I will contribute $1,000.
  2. The top donor will receive a digital copy of Kostas (her husband) in his 2014 Burning Man outfit.
  3. If I exceed my goal I will wear Kostas’ Burning Man 2014 outfit during the Canary Challenge ride. (see photo)”

Creative fundraising ideas like sending out fun emails and offering friends and family incentives to donate make fundraising both easy and enjoyable. The Canary Peeps team also asks each member to ask 3-5 new people to join the team or donate to their team. Both techniques have made the Canary Peeps team extremely successful and a great presence at the Canary Challenge village.

The Canary Peeps have also have lots of fun at the Canary Challenge. The kid’s favorite part of the event is the bouncy castle, slide, face painting, and sugar shack (hint: bring your family!) Hilary and her friends’ favorite part is the team camaraderie. Hilary said, “We come together, support and encourage each other. Team tee shirts are designed by one of our own. The team slogan is “Cruisin’ with my Peeps.” We have a team tent that creates team unity and a great place to hang out. We have a team cocktail but I am not sure you can mention that!”

peepsThe Canary Peeps motto is “we have no shame,” and they definitely live out that motto and have found great success at the Challenge sans shame. Our team at the Foundation wants to thank Hilary and her team for all of their hard work and generous contributions to the Canary Foundation’s cause. With supporters like these our efforts to detect cancer early through a simple blood test and imaging will be hopefully be rewarded soon.