Twin sisters Gretchen and Lucy Geraghty have partnered with Choose a Challenge to fundraise for charity by taking a group of fellow BU students on a trek to Machu Picchu this August.
Nick Giampiccolo, a challenge coordinator at Choose a Challenge, said the organization is a fundraising travel company that pairs groups of students with charities. Students raise double the cost of their trip, and donate half of that money to whichever foundation they are supporting.
The Geraghtys’ trip has been paired with the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation, read “B positive,” which helps families afflicted by childhood cancer pay for treatment while also funding childhood cancer research.
Carly Bergstein, the foundation’s program director, said cancer research for children is vastly underfunded.
“Four percent of our government’s research budget for cancer goes to kids,” Bergstein said. “Ninety-six to adults and four percent to kids. Forty-six kids are diagnosed every day, and seven kids are dying from childhood cancer every single day, and we’re not doing enough.”
Ye Chen, a freshman in the College of Engineering, wrote in a Facebook message that he thinks many certain causes, like childhood cancer research, don’t receive the funding or attention they deserve.
“There are a lot of issues in the world that don’t always get the attention they need, and often times nonprofits are created to fill the absence of focus on these issues,” Chen wrote. “I think it’s great that an opportunity is created to help support these less mainstream causes.”
Bergstein said that with the help of students’ Choose a Challenge fundraising efforts, B+ has funded lifesaving cancer research.
“It’s important to be able to keep that going, and to be able to inspire students to get behind something,” Bergstein said. “When they can get behind something and make a difference, and feel that difference, everybody wins. The students win, the kids win, the kids’ parents win.”
Lucy Geraghty, a junior in the Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, wrote in an email that she and her sister are excited to fundraise for a cause they feel strongly about.
“The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation helps so many families and children all over the country and truly changes people’s lives,” Geraghty wrote. “To be able to help them in their quest to aid others is something I am very grateful to have the opportunity to do.”
SAR sophomore Agatha Tam wrote in a Facebook message that she thinks the money raised by the students going on the trip will be meaningful for families affected by childhood cancer.
“Donating to nonprofits is important because your contribution does make a difference,” Tam wrote. “Although an impact can’t be immediately felt or seen for cancer research, it does serve an important purpose.”
Giampiccolo added the Choose a Challenge focuses on supporting and sustaining established charities and foundations over funding temporary “voluntourism.”
“We want students to have a positive impact on the world while they’re [traveling],” Giampiccolo said. “We discourage the voluntourism aspect and encourage giving to charities and nonprofits that do real work and support real causes.”
Giampiccolo said Choose a Challenge also aims to help college students who would like to travel, but are unable to because of financial reasons.
“Students don’t necessarily have the funds to take on climbing Kilimanjaro or going to Machu Picchu,” Giampiccolo said. “We want to make sure that any student is able to take on these challenges if they want to.
Pranati Rao, a senior in the Questrom School of Business, said she is interested in participating in the trip because she believes in its mission and because she loves traveling.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to climb [Machu Picchu] and experience the city and culture with friends from Boston University,” Rao said. “I think group trips are great because you make friends on such a deeper level.
Lucy Geraghty wrote that she thinks students should try to travel and become more globally-minded.
“It is so important to have a more global view of the world so you are not stuck in your own little bubble,” Geraghty wrote. “I think that everyone should study abroad if they have the chance and just try to travel and experience as much of the world as they can.”