Coming off of last year's successful fundraising, the nearly 50 members of Team Meg kicked off its annual campaign on Oct. 12 with the focus on doing even better.
The organization raises money for the Meg Berte Owen Cancer Survivorship Fund, which donates the proceeds to the ECHN Cancer Center.
In 2011, the group raised more than $10,000, for 2012, the goal is $15,000. According to Team Meg member Michele Callahan, the group is well on their way to reaching the goal, having sold more than $3,000 worth of T-shirts in three weeks, as well as raising money at Friday's kick off event.
"We already have people calling in from out of state, and we want to make sure we can get them their T-shirts," Callahan said.
The ECHN Cancer Survivorship Program was created to offer support to people with cancer, their families, and loved ones. It pays for programs that may not be covered under insurance plans such as physical therapy, massages and other support procedures necessary for coping with the dreadful disease and its consequences on both the sufferer and the important people in their lives.
Meg Berte Owen was first diagnosed with cancer at the age of 23 and lived with the disease until finally succumbing to it 14 years later. She made cancer survivorship her passion.
"[Cancer survivorship] is the movement to reduce the late term effects of cancer treatment; to increase surveillance for recurring cancers; and to overcome physical, mental and spiritual effects the disease can permanently impose upon entire families," according to the Team Meg website.
The members of Team Meg include many of her closest friends. Callahan described how she and Berte Owen, along with Jodi Huyler and Jennifer Musto, had known each other since they were 10 years old; they went to middle and high school together. Now, Callahan, Huyler and Musto continue the mission in honor of their friend and to help those suffering from cancer.
"The money raised helps support the families so they don’t have to worry about paying for the programs or put any more strain on other family members for support," said Callahan.
The group will have a presence at the Manchester Road Race on Thanksgiving, as they did last year. They will be selling T-shirts and sweatshirts to raise money for the cause, and hope to have a booth this year if possible. Many of the group's members will be walking the race together adorned in their Team Meg apparel.
Anyone wishing to purchase items are encouraged to contact Team Meg through e-mail at their website.