Story by Molly Longman
This semester, Drake University social sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma sold rubber band “loom” bracelets in honor of a young boy’s struggle with Spitzoid Melanoma.
Graham Fowler of Fridley, Minn., was 9 years old when he was diagnosed with the rare cancer one year ago. Instead of sporting a pessimistic attitude, Fowler made the best of the unfortunate situation.
After removing the small patch of cancer from Fowler’s left arm last spring, checkups and doctor offices became part of the normal routine. His car rides to and from appointments were long.
His family encouraged him to find a hobby to take his mind off of the sickness and help time pass on the road. He discovered he enjoyed making the colorful interlocking rubber band bracelets, “loom” bracelets, which would eventually get more attention than planned.
Cheryl, Graham’s mother, posted a picture of the bracelets to Facebook to show them off to family and friends.
“People saw them and wanted to purchase them,” said Alida Fowler, Graham’s older sister, “Graham thought (making and selling bracelets) would be fun to do and give the money to childhood cancer research. It was his idea.”
Alida brought her brother’s idea to Drake.
She proposed to idea of making bracelets as one of her sorority’s philanthropy projects.
The girls of KKG got together to “mass-produce” the bright bracelets with yellow beads, representing childhood cancer awareness.
The bracelets were available to any student, staff member or community member to buy.
“We sold over 400 loom bracelets on our philanthropy day,” said Madison Ottenbacher, KKG member and first-year student at Drake.
“Even though the main event is over, you can still contact any Kappa member if you want to buy one.”
Bracelets are also for sale through “Graham’s Gift.” The Fowlers have set up “Graham’s Gift” as a Facebook page as well as a donation page on givemn.com, a website that allows people to fundraise for their charity of choice.
Bracelets are sold on Drake’s campus for $2 each, and on givemn.com for $1 each. All proceeds go towards childhood cancer research.
With the help of some publicity from today.com, Ellen Degeneres’ blog, and the Twin Cities’ FOX News channel, Graham’s project has raised over $11,000 so far. More than 8,000 bracelets have been made.
The “Graham’s Gift” page on Facebook is constantly being updated and can be checked any time to see “a little boy with a big heart on a mission to fight his battle.”