Worldwide Who’s Who lifetime member Susan Matthews is board member and president of Tay-Bandz, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness for and funding pediatric cancer research. Tay-Bandz became a 501(c)(3) public charity in May 2003 when Susan’s daughter, Taylor Matthews, was diagnosed with bone cancer. Although she lost her battle in February 2008, Taylor remains a beacon of hope in the combat against all forms of pediatric cancer. Taylor’s fight and dream will live on. And by taking the reins of the non-profit, Susan has emerged as an outspoken advocate for pediatric cancer awareness. She is presently expanding the organization to a national level.
The concept behind Tay-Bandz is “kids helping kids,” whereby its charitable activities and community-based efforts involve empowering youth to design and sell inspired products. Since 2003, Susan and company have organized and launched a multitude of fundraising drives, including partnerships with retailers and vendors where a portion of the proceeds from sales benefit the nonprofit. They have raised more than $1 million in donations, which have supported pediatric cancer research at medical centers such as the Columbia Presbyterian Children’s Hospital, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the MD Anderson Cancer Institute. Susan has also initiated a series of dance-a-thons, bowl-a-thons, relays and boutiques.
Currently, Julian Krinsky Camps & Programs, a leading creator of world class summer educational experiences for children and teens is hosting a Tay-Bandz dance-a-thon in July 2009. For further information, go to http://www.jkcp.com or visit the Facebook event page: Tay-Bandz Fundraiser Dance for Pediatric Cancer Research. In addition, for the first time ever, Tay-Bandz has a team participating in “Swim Across America” to raise funds for cancer research. The team includes 16 year old Nikhyl Jhangiani who has pledged to swim 100,000 laps until June 2010 in order to raise $10,000 for Tay-Bandz.
Through the years, the charity has broadened its product offering and range of services. While the initial items sold were custom headbands designed by Taylor, it now also manufactures personalized clothing for giveaways at special events, which feature your logo and the Tay-Bandz label (you may also opt to wrap the article in a Tay-Bandz ribbon). This year a signature piece was added to the collection – a magnificent scarf, designed and manufactured by Taylor’s sister, Ryan Matthews, in Taylor’s memory. The scarf was created with Taylor in mind, using the colors and features that she loved. This piece is not only a special tribute to Taylor, but also represents the evolvement of her sister Ryan into a leader for the cause to end the suffering of those afflicted with pediatric cancer.
Taylor’s original jewelry creation – the Taylor Charm Bracelet – is available at Presents for Purpose, which donates 25% of the net proceeds to Tay-Bandz. The piece combines beautiful sterling silver hearts, Swarovski crystals and murano millefiori heart pendants, linked together by silver message pendants containing the inspiring words ‘Live,’ ‘Love,’ ‘Laugh,’ ‘Dream’ and ‘Hope.’ Also featured at http://www.presentsforpurpose.com is the Taylor Bag featuring an attractive suede surface, grosgrain silk lining and ribbon closure. Furthermore, Tay-Bandz has established an affiliate partnership with iBakeSale, a shopping rewards program that supports local community fundraising projects by allowing shoppers to make online purchases from more than 100 companies while donating their cash-back rewards to the group or activity of their choice.
Shockingly, there is almost no Federal funding for pediatric cancer research and precious little private philanthropy. According to The National Cancer Institute, cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among U.S. children. Thousands of children will die each year while promising treatments are ignored merely for lack of funding. Tay-Bandz, which operates with virtually zero overhead, is currently seeking the help of benevolent volunteers willing to make a difference in their communities. For more information about the organization and how you can help or make a donation, please visit the Tay-Bandz, Inc. Website. You can be confident that every dollar is headed for a laboratory.
Susan Matthews received a bachelor of science in accounting in 1982 from Franklin & Marshall College. She is a member of the Parents’ Council at Wake Forest University, the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants and The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. To learn more about Susan Matthews, please visit her Worldwide Who’s Who VIP profile: Susan Matthews.