NEW ORLEANS — When Jacki Splittorf-Sullins lost her 3-year-old son, Harlan, to a rare form of childhood cancer, she wanted to do everything she could to prevent other parents from having to lose a child.
Today, Splittorf-Sullins’ work fighting childhood cancer has earned her the 2019 Cash, Sweat & Tears Award as North America’s most inspiring fundraising volunteer.
Splittorf-Sullins launched the Baxter Trails CureSearch Hike in 2015 — an annual fundraiser in South Carolina that has raised nearly $150,000 for the cancer nonprofit CureSearch for Children’s Cancer.
The hike has spawned a number of similar hikes across the country that raise money for the charity. She also founded Harlan’s Heroes, a nonprofit that provides support to parents of children who are battling cancer.
“Jacki is being honored not for the amount of money she has raised, which is significant, but rather for the impact she’s having on CureSearch and on the 40,000 children who undergo treatment each year,” said David Hessekiel, founder and president of the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum, which created this award. “When we think about P2P fundraising, we often think of the large national charities that stage massive, multi-city events. But P2P is also making a huge difference on smaller organizations like CureSearch. And it’s people like Jacki who make these programs successful.”
The Cash Sweat & Tears award honors an extraordinary volunteer who has gone above and beyond to conduct peer-to-peer fundraising for charity. It is sponsored by the fundraising technology company Blackbaud.
In peer-to-peer fundraising, a nonprofit’s supporters reach out to their friends, family and colleagues for donations often in connection with an activity such as a walk or ride. Collectively, these campaigns raise billions for nonprofits across North America.
CureSearch, which raised more than $5 million in 2018, has a small staff and a modest, but growing, peer-to-peer fundraising program.
The Baxter Trails CureSearch Hike is almost completely managed by Splittorf-Sullins. As a result, CureSearch’s professional fundraising team can devote its time and resources elsewhere.
“Jacki has been a game changer for our organization,” says Brecka Putnam, senior manager, campaign development for CureSearch. “Any time a parent loses a child and is able to get up and do something about it, it really blows me away. Jacki has taken it a step farther and is making such a tremendous difference. She is phenomenal.”
Splittorf-Sullins’ impact on CureSearch extends far beyond the hike. She also works with CureSearch’s fundraising team to help with the charity’s year-end appeal. She also dedicates countless hours to helping families through her work with Harlan’s Heroes.
What’s more, she mentors other CureSearch supporters who host hikes and similar fundraising events.
Splittorf-Sullins said she is humbled by the award. But she also believes that she has much more work to do.
“I’m not doing this for awards or to bring attention to myself,” she said. “I just don’t want any family to have to go through losing a child.”
Blackbaud has issued a matching challenge up to $5,000 for all donations made in support of Jacki’s fundraising efforts for the 2019 CureSearch Ultimate Hike.
About the Cash, Sweat & Tears Award
The Cash, Sweat & Tears award honors the passion of the nonprofit world’s most extraordinary volunteers — the people who take on physical challenges or overcome tremendous obstacles raise money from their friends, family, and colleagues for U.S. charities.
Each year, the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum invites the organizers of athletic fundraising programs in the United States to nominate one inspiring participant for the award. The nomination period opens each November and the winners are announced at the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum’s annual conference.
Learn more at www.cashsweatandtears.com.
You can learn more about CureSearch for Children’s Cancer on its website.