Turning 50 and Raising $50,000 For the Kids

Turning 50 and Raising $50,000 For the Kids

Actually, I’ve been saying it a lot lately, because to celebrate turning 50, I’m raising $50,000 for the Four Diamonds Fund to fight pediatric cancer – a little adventure I call $50K For The Kids. I know, it’s a bit crazy, but aren’t you supposed to do something a bit crazy when you turn 50? I wanted to do something I’d never done before, and let me tell you, I’ve never raised $50,000 before. I’ve never even raised $500 before. But once I said it out loud, there was no turning back.

The Nittany Lion visiting Hershey Children's Hospital. Photo courtesy of the Hershey Children's Hospital Facebook page. The Nittany Lion visiting Hershey Children's Hospital. Photo courtesy of the Hershey Children's Hospital Facebook page.

Choosing the Four Diamonds Fund was easiest part of all of this. I participated in the Penn State dance marathon when it was in the White Building – I was on the Morale Committee for three years. While it was nowhere near the juggernaut it is today, we were still over the moon when we broke the $200,000 mark my senior year. (Shout out to the Class of 1985 – especially the QBA majors!) There’s something about THON that’s hard to put into words, but anyone who has been even remotely touched by it understands. The THON experience reaches to the very core of one’s soul, and what Four Diamonds does for children with cancer and their families is nothing short of miraculous.

But there was another piece to choosing the Four Diamonds Fund. I wanted the opportunity to share the story of Four Diamonds with non-Penn Staters – how one family’s most devastating loss has been transformed into something truly life-giving for more than 41 years. The story of courage, wisdom, honesty, and strength.

I’m a publicist in the theater industry, so I’m used to pitching stories, but 4 diamonds letteralways about someone else. This is out of my comfort zone, but it has been a fantastic journey thus far. Every step of the way, I learn something new, or meet someone new who jumps on board:
• The PSU grad who convinces his boss to put info about $50K For The Kids on the spring/summer edition of the DC visitor’s map that gets handed out to 500,000 people;
• The amazing folks at Lions Pride, who immediately say yes when I ask for a shout out, thereby more than doubling the fans of the $50K For The Kids Facebook page;
• The concierge who has no connection to Penn State whatsoever, but who’s also turning 50 this year and wants to throw a combined birthday bash to raise money.

From the beginning, I kept telling myself, I just need 1,000 folks that are turning 50 to each give $50. I’m still telling myself that. Are any of you personal friends with Johnny Depp? Vanessa Williams? Conan O’Brien? Brad Pitt? They’re all turning 50 this year. I bet they have $50 (maybe more) they can spare!

But with or without them, I know this can happen. At this point, I’ve got two Deb nowmonths and just over $44,000 to go. The Four Diamonds Fund created a special donation page – 50kforthekids.org. I’m asking you to please pass it along, in the spirit of the old Faberge commercial. And since I’m finding that turning 50 somehow makes you bolder, I’m also asking you to make a contribution to the cause. Every dollar counts, just like every kid counts.

The simple answer to why I’m doing this? Because everyone knows a kid, has a kid, or has been a kid. And every kid deserves to turn 50 too.

Thanks, and happy birthday to all of you!

Deb Fiscella

Twitter: @50kforthekids

50 FTK