Behind every extraordinary fundraiser is an extraordinary story of dedication. For San Diego resident Stacy Matseas, the nation's number-one fundraiser for the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event, her story began in 2000, when her childhood friend Victoria was diagnosed with breast cancer.
"Upon receiving Victoria's news that she had breast cancer, I felt totally and completely helpless I had to act!" Stacy says. "A friend told me to look for the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event in San Diego."
When Stacy found the Making Strides event, she found her calling. Starting with a few friends and colleagues, her team grew as more and more people were drawn to her infectious passion for raising funds to help the American Cancer Society fight breast cancer. Today, her wide-reaching team is known as Stacy's Circle of Friends - and its members have raised more than $1,243,000 and counting to create a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays. Stacy has personally raised more than $877,000 of that total, making her the top national fundraising volunteer for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event for many years running.
Stacy says the key to raising money for good causes in tough times is to be passionate and to persevere. "Set high goals, invite everyone to participate, offer options as to how [to participate], share your story, follow up, and be grateful for every dollar," she says. "I'm passionate about what I do. Most people are aware of the significance of cancer in our society; I am just a facilitator of how they can make a difference in the future of the disease."
Stacy enjoys inspiring others to excel at something they are passionate about as well. In her words, "Take every step with purpose and passion. Do whatever you can, whenever you can, however you can. Share love and hugs freely. One person truly can make a difference!"
She says her hope is that, by everyone working together, we will all help eradicate suffering from cancer. While Stacy says she will continue to raise significant funds to fight cancer, she challenges other people to raise more. "There is room for everyone at the top," she says. "Kudos to anyone who raises as much money as they can, because we are all winners!"
Stacy embarked on a life of volunteering after leaving a successful career at QUALCOMM, a telecommunications and research development company, in 2003 (QUALCOMM has continued to support Making Strides with its own team). Now a full-time volunteer, she often speaks on behalf of the American Cancer Society and has served on its California Division Board of Directors. She's also an American Cancer Society Road To Recovery® driver, is actively involved in the La Jolla Relay For Life®, and fights back against cancer through advocacy as a member of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network SM (ACS CAN), the Society's nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate. She was awarded the 2006 Volunteer of the Year Award for San Diego County for her dedication to the American Cancer Society and its mission, including her vision, establishment, and leadership of its San Diego Champions Committee.
Today, Stacy is happy to report her friend Victoria is now a 10-plus-year survivor and a Making Strides Pacesetter in Nashua, New Hampshire. When Stacy and Victoria have the opportunity, they enjoy walking together in Making Strides Against Breast Cancer events in Nashua or San Diego.
Every person who walks in the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event has a reason for walking - and every person touched by cancer has a story to tell. These stories remind us that the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event is more than a walk. It describes the progress we're making together to save lives and create a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays. Below are personal stories we hope will inspire you to join us in making strides to end breast cancer!
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