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Ravenscroft Crucial Catch Team Sets New Record in Fundraising to Fight Cancer
Ravenscroft Crucial Catch Team Sets New Record in Fundraising to Fight Cancer

For the fourth year in a row, Ravenscroft's student-led fundraising team for Crucial Catch has been recognized as the top fundraising school in the nation, exceeding their goal of $30,000 by more than $6,000 and once again winning the prestigious Pink Cleat Award.

Crucial Catch is a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the National Football League to help more people catch cancer early and address the unequal burden of cancer in underserved communities. The initiative promotes prevention and early detection of cancer and increases access to lifesaving cancer screenings. Since 2009, organizations fundraising for Crucial Catch have raised more than $22 million.

Ravenscroft team members for 2020-21 were Cole Stiefel '21, Gavin Mathan '21, Andrew Gould '21, Georgia Winston '22, Bea Holdstock '22, Lila Parker '22, Simone Baldwin '22, Harrison Poole '23, Owen Fincher '23, Amber Stiefel '23, Alex Richmond '23, Alex Olander '24, Elena Mathan '24, Garland Gould '24 and Noah Suh '24.

Coming into the school year while adapting to new COVID protocols, the group's leaders say they weren't sure what to expect.

"As a team, we knew this year would be different because of COVID and we knew fundraising might be a challenge, but we also knew that the cause — cancer screening for underserved populations — was even more important during a pandemic," Georgia Winston '22 explained. "So, we set about our year anticipating that we might only accomplish half of what we would in a typical year."

"COVID changed many things — most notably, [not having spectators at] football games cost us our primary means of raising awareness and donations," Cole Stiefel '21 said. "We had to change our fundraisers to fit the new world and still spread Crucial Catch's message."

Building on the successful strategies of previous years, the group sold T-shirts, Jersey Mike's subs and pink flags in honor and remembrance of loved ones fighting cancer. But they also tried something new — and timely.

"We had a lot of success with a new fundraiser this year: our COVID Car Kits that included gloves, a mask and hand sanitizer," Georgia explained. "We offered them to the first 60 people who donated $20 or more. We were surprised as support started to come in, and many people generously donated more than $20."

For Cole, leading the Crucial Catch efforts was a culminating experience in which he and his teammates had the opportunity to lean on the principles of Lead From Here.

"This was my first time in a major leadership role, and I learned immeasurable amounts about working with others," he said. "I had to communicate clearly to keep the team organized and work with individual members of the team to help us all strive to reach our goals. Many of the skills that I learned are Lead From Here competencies, like being communicative, collaborative and adaptive. There is nothing like hands-on experience. My work with Crucial Catch taught me these vital skills and prepared me for my future."

Harrison Poole '23, who served as co-chair-elect this year, agreed that being involved in this endeavor provided valuable experience.

"I would say the thing I have learned most about being a part of the Crucial Catch team is willingness. To be part of the team requires time and effort," he said. "However, it is for a great cause, and it makes you feel accomplished and helps to make the world a better place. My favorite part of the Crucial Catch experience from this year would be the meetings we had virtually that were filled with positivity and energy while also being productive."

"I was very proud of the entire team because we all adapted to the circumstances of COVID and worked with what we had — and ended up raising more money this year than we ever have before," Georgia concluded. "We raised a total of $36,624!"

A banner has been presented to the team and will be displayed at Billerman Court in recognition of this accomplishment. The American Cancer Society celebrated the Ravenscroft team in a Zoom call in April.

At top: Crucial Catch co-leaders Harrison Poole '23, Georgia Winston '22 and Cole Stiefel '21 in front of the banner celebrating Ravenscroft's five years of fundraising and support