Cancer Can’t Kill Love
Meaghan McGoldrick had lost both of her parents to cancer by the time she was 22 years old. Her father John Patrick “Butch” McGoldrick, an ironworker, passed in 2008 from lung cancer caused by his work at Ground Zero, and her mother Joanne died just five years later after a short bout with Leukemia. After she lost her mother, Meaghan’s friends jumped in to help, setting up an event to memorialize her parents and raise money to help with her expenses.
They named the event Cancer Can’t Kill Love after a sermon given at Joanne’s funeral, and invited bands to play. They held it in the back of a bar in Brooklyn and were able to donate $1,000 to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in her mother’s name and memory.
Inspired by the success of this first event, Meaghan decided to do it again the next year. Cancer Can’t Kill Love became an annual benefit concert event and has spawned offshoots, all dedicated to raising money to combat cancer in her parents’ memory. “Though Cancer Can’t Kill Love’s first iteration was none of my own doing (my friends are rockstars), I actively threw myself into every year thereafter, becoming a part of the team and helping to grow our little-event-that-could,” she writes on one of her fundraising pages. “I am a writer by profession but can never find the right words for CCKL. It is weird. It is wonderful. It is so much bigger than one person or one place or one thing. It is a movement. And it is my handrail.”
Meaghan and her partners soon realized that they could raise more money by selling cool custom t-shirts, so they turned to Custom Ink to make them. “We were just looking for a way to raise awareness and even further foster the sense of togetherness Cancer Can’t Kill Love embodies. Custom Ink looked great and, after a great experience in ordering merch for our second event, was a clear choice to stick with for the rest of our time fundraising!”
Then, they learned about Custom Ink Fundraising and tried running a t-shirt fundraiser. They found they could reach even more people through the fundraising platform and it has been key to getting the word out about their cause. They have since done seven successful fundraising campaigns with Custom Ink. “It brings us all together in a way, well beyond the scope of the actual event. It breaks our cause out of the 24-hour window of an annual event.” Since fundraisers are so easy to share, they’ve been able to reach people well outside of their geographical location as well. “Thanks to Custom Ink, our merch has found its way to supporters well beyond those who attend our events — and has helped us make connections across the globe!!!”
Since beginning in 2013, they have raised nearly $75,000 for Stand Up To Cancer, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research. They also work with the bone marrow transplantation company Be the Match and provide on-site registry sign up at all of their events. “Since our partnership began with Be The Match, we’ve made TWO successful matches from people who attended the event — one of which has already donated platelets and helped save a life.”
The custom t-shirts Meaghan made have both brought her group together and helped get her message out. “It is so incredible to walk down the street and see friends, family and now even strangers rocking something that promotes your cause,” she says. “You don’t truly know the power of your cause until you see it being represented out in the world.”
Cancer Can’t Kill Love is hosting an open mic night Saturday, June 1 and their annual main event is scheduled for Saturday, September 21 in New York City.