Date for a Cure Takes Unusual Turn
Charity event organized on social media
By Sarah Christopherson
Singles mingling and being bet on for charity seems like a harmless event, but throw enough alcohol into the mix and it can turn a good event into quite a mess.
The Date for a Cure fundraiser raised close to $7,000 on May 1 at Spin night club in Milwaukee’s Third Ward, but problems arose the next day when bachelors and bachelorettes disputed charges made on their credit cards because they were too intoxicated to remember buying the dates.
Even though the fundraiser was a public event, many of the bachelors and bachelorettes were the ones who did all the bidding.
“We ran into some hiccups with some of the bachelors and bachelorettes that purchased dates and then disputed the charges afterwards,” said Date for a Cure organizer Tiffany Weber. “We actually lost close to $1,200 in donations.”
Over intoxication also led to a few of the bachelorettes becoming overly emotional and upset after they were bid on.
Bachelorette Wendy Schultz was in tears after she was bought for $60 hoping to go for more.Schultz however was not available for comment.
The fundraiser was raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society children’s chapter and was a part of Corrie Schroeder’s campaign to become the LLS’s Woman of the Year.
The campaign is a nationwide event that takes place over 10 weeks. Each candidate tries to raise the most amount of money possible within the time limit for his or her chapter.
“My dad passed away six months ago from bladder cancer,” said Schroeder. “I just thought this would be something to do in tribute to him.”
There were however some bachelors and bachelorettes who took the night very seriously. Bachelor Garrett Van Auken who lost his grandmother to breast cancer said, “Cancer has hit my family really hard.”
Van Auken is a personal trainer as well as a volunteer gym teacher at Mercy Academy in Wauwatosa. He is also a Kinesiology graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
“If I could take one kid’s cancer and give it to me, I would in a heartbeat,” he said. “I love kids.”
Weber and business partner Natasha Florence organized the event for Schroeder because Weber ran last year for the same campaign and raised close to $8,000 with the Date for a Cure fundraiser.
“Our big disappointment this year was the bachelor and bachelorette participation,” said Weber. “We just asked them to sell five tickets and really only four of the bachelors and bachelorettes sold tickets.”
The idea for Date for a Cure came up last year during Weber’s campaign when a group of her friends helped her brainstorm fundraising ideas and thought of a bachelor and bachelorette auction. “I didn’t see those a lot in Milwaukee,” said Weber.
Weber and Florence used social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook to get word out about the event and to also find eligible bachelors and bachelorettes.
Eligible bachelors and bachelorettes
Before the date auction, bachelors, bachelorettes, and attendees mingled together while playing ping pong on the many tables Spin offers its guests.
The 60 bachelors and bachelorettes wore t-shirts that had a saying about their date and also a place for people to place their bid.
Bachelor Harrison Smith’s shirt said, “Let’s get wild with the animals-Come with me to the zoo!” Smith’s date package included a day at the zoo and then dinner and drinks afterwards. Smith works at Bucyrus in Milwaukee which makes mining equipment.
During the date auction, Van Auken sold for $100 but actually bought himself trying to raise more money. His date package was a ghost tour around Milwaukee and drinks afterwards.
However, he sold the most tickets for the event even though he was not connected with Weber or Florence, but was found through Twitter.
Despite the 300 attendees, it was mostly the bachelors and bachelorettes bidding for one another and many of them bought the dates instead of audience members.
Bachelorette Jenni Kieckhafer bought fellow bachelor Craig Omick’s acupuncture and drinks date for $315 which was the highest bid of the night.
Kieckhafer is a survivor of cancer and is a massage therapist with her own massage business called Studio 4:32. She is a large believer in herbal remedies and being in touch with the body.
Omick is a local musician in the Milwaukee community and is part of a “jam band” called Groove Dogs.
“I have a strong feeling there’s a love connection there too,” said Weber.
LLS’s Man and Woman of the Year Campaign
The process to earn the title of Man and Woman of the Year takes a lot of networking and creativity.
Each candidate has 10 weeks to raise as much money as possible but he or she is not allowed to raise any money before or after the amount of time.
“It’s a competition between people who are well networked to see who is the better person [at raising money],” said Weber.
The competition begins at a chapter level and then to the state level and finally leads to the national level and winner of Man or Woman of the Year.
“Candidates do very different events. One did a black tie only event and the starting bid for items was $1,000,” said LLS PR intern Chelsea Ostrov.
“It’s one of the largest campaign builders,” said Weber. “Ninety-two percent [of all proceeds] go to actual research and programming for kids. Only eight cents of every dollar is going to administrative costs.”
Date for a Cure
Weber and Florence hold a Date for a Cure fundraiser twice a year for different charities to help raise money for a good cause.
The idea for the Date for a Cure fundraiser came about when Weber ran for LLS’s Man and Woman of the Year last year.
“It was a nice way to connect the social media mindset that so many younger audiences have and [get] a lot of people who are single to an actual physical event, getting people to meet in real life and not just social media-wise,” said Weber.
To make sure that people weren’t getting scammed out of a date, Weber made sure to partner each bachelor and bachelorette with a date package. “It takes the pressure off of them…it’s not them people are buying but actually their package. Couples can be involved in it too,” said Weber.
The next Date for a Cure, and will be renamed “Unique Milwaukee,” will be held in August and will be supporting the Milwaukee Animal Rescue Center. “We try to do it for more specific groups so that the ‛cure’ works,” said Weber.
“Me and Natasha know a lot of people in Milwaukee, we know a lot of businesses, we think a lot of people don’t realize all the unique attractions so we thought it was a great way to kind of showcase what Milwaukee has to offer in front of a group of people while doing a good thing,” said Weber.