[Matt Ferguson: 2012 Honoree]
Matt Ferguson was inspired to start Matt's Chemo Bags during his freshman year of high school after finding out his mom had been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. She was given a low chance of survival due to pre-existing medical conditions and would need a double mastectomy and chemotherapy to even have a chance at beating the cancer.
Ferguson stayed by his mother's side throughout her grueling chemo treatments. During his visits to the oncology clinic he watched helplessly as his mom and other women suffered the terrible side effects of treatment. One of the few things that brought relief to his mother was a tote bag (given by his aunt) filled with carefully selected comforting items -- body lotion, hand sanitizer, tissues, moist wipes, an emery board, a thin scarf, warm socks, a small handmade lap blanket, a lap pillow, a pen and notebook and a teddy bear. Knowing that many women go through this grueling treatment alone, he began replicating that bag for other women suffering from breast cancer in hopes that it would bring them the same comfort that it brought his own mother. With that, Matt's Chemo Bags was born.
Right away the donations started pouring in. Ferguson began to organize many bag-stuffing events with his high school, Girl Scout troops, 4H groups and various large companies. Motivated by the community's positive feedback to his cause, Ferguson expanded his breast cancer fundraising efforts and created a now annual Think Pink Week at his high school. Within just two years, this event has already raised over $20,000. Matt's Chemo Bags continues to grow and now services all of Oregon, Southwest Washington and Northern California and has raised over $60,000 and distributed over 7,500 bags to date. Now a freshman at Northern Arizona University, Ferguson continues working toward his ultimate goal: to make Matt's Chemo Bags a nationwide organization before graduation.
For more information on Matt's Chemo Bags, click here.