Teen volunteer Eric Doppelt at PurpleStride New Jersey talks about his Voices of Hope program that connects youth advocates with survivors.
Teen supporter, Eric Doppelt, not only has been a dedicated fundraiser at PurpleStride, but he is using his creativity to launch a project that gives survivors and teens a voice.
Feeling helpless about his aunt’s pancreatic cancer diagnosis, Eric Doppelt, 16, of Chappaqua, N.Y., remembers turning to the internet to find out more about the disease.
“After finding the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network as one of the first search results, I decided to send an email and see what I could do to make a difference for my aunt and others affected by the disease,” he said.
Little did he know that his quick email would lead him down a path of renewed inspiration and hope.
One of the first things he and his friends and family did was participate in PurpleStride. The popular run/walk event was where he really saw the power of people coming together to raise funds and awareness.
“I made a vow to myself to fight alongside my aunt and focus on PurpleStride New Jersey to act as a launching point. Together, my aunt and I created ‘Team Jane,’ and our first goal was to raise $2,500 and recruit 10 team members,” Eric said.
“We also added more events to our schedule, including PurpleStride New York and Chicago, plus Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. What started out as a small operation grew into a multi-event fundraiser that greatly surpassed our goal.”
Since 2013, Team Jane has raised over $100,000 for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
In addition to fundraising, Eric was recently a summer intern at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network national headquarters. He is continuing to Wage Hope since heading back to high school by spearheading a new project called Voices of Hope.
“This project amplifies both survivors’ and kids’ voices by creating audio recordings of conversations between them. The two contrasting points of view intertwine to produce an incredible commentary on how this disease has affected the lives and perspectives of both kids and survivors,” Eric said.
Eric recalls his aunt’s positivity and determination as the inspiration for his continued involvement. Jane passed away of pancreatic cancer in September 2016.
“My aunt Jane never let fear conquer her. Her ability to face this disease and not let it rob her of her joy inspired me. So, in her honor, I try to bring the same level optimism and hopefulness that she taught me.”
Get your family involved in fundraising for your local PurpleStride. If a survivor or young person you know is interested in the Voices of Hope project, please contact Eric Doppelt at firstname.lastname@example.org.