It gives her a purpose and helps her through the grieving process. It helps keep her son’s memory alive while helping children with the biggest fight of their lives.
Becky Dees is a local photographer and instructor at Winona Public Schools. In the past few years, she supported her son through a serious battle with leukemia. Last year, Greg Dees lost his battle. But #TEAMDEES is determined to keep his memory alive by helping children at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital “have more birthdays.”
“It gives me a purpose and helps me to keep Greg’s memory alive while helping other families that have cancer to have a better chance of survival,” Dees said. “Everyone needs to have more birthdays, and parents should never have to bury their children.”
Earlier this year, this “St. Jude Hero” had a goal of $500 set by St. Jude, but Dees said that wasn’t enough.
In addition to raising money through marathons and other walking/running events, Dees has a unique fundraiser that has truly taken off in the area. Just before her son was diagnosed with leukemia, Dees ordered a large supply of button parts. She has had the button-making machine since 2004.
“I set my personal goal for $1,111 because that would include Greg’s favorite numbers and the time of his funeral 11:11,” Dees said. “I know that everyone is asked over and over to donate or buy something so I decided to sell sports spirit buttons and donate the proceeds to St Jude.”
Some people order one while others order one for almost every person in their family! Dees said they order more because the money is going to St. Jude.
“It just made sense to me that buttons would be a good fundraiser that everyone could afford to contribute to and receive a product that would show encouragement and support for their children, especially since I took the pictures for the yearbook already,” Dees said.
All of the proceeds for the buttons are donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Dees donates all the profits from the photo package sales to the iFight TeamDees Scholarship Fund.
And while she is taking photos and making buttons, she is also walking and training for the St. Jude Marathon Weekend, set for the first weekend in December.
“The walking is just good stress therapy plus I have a goal of finishing the half marathon in under 3:00 hours,” Dees said. “That’s a pretty big goal for me because that is 13.1 miles in under 14 minutes per mile.”
Dees has been walking a lot and will walk even more to condition her body for that challenge. Dees said her grandson, Camden, brings her so much joy and he makes for a good walking partner. When Camden is not with her, she “feeds her soul” with music from the Mandisa station on Pandora, while improving her stride.
“Everyone needs a purpose and someone who is grieving needs an even bigger and better purpose,” Dees said. “St. Jude saves lives. It gives children more birthdays. I need to see those success stories. It helps my heart to heal. I need to help people whose children are suffering from cancer and rare diseases to have a brighter day.”
“Cancer is near and dear to our hearts,” said Becky’s daughter, Erica Dees. “My mom never wants another child to miss a birthday due to cancer.”
To help Dees and her fundraising efforts for St. Jude, text or email their favorite picture and she can print for buttons and magnets for $4 each with all proceeds going to help children with cancer. To place you order, contact Dees by email at email@example.com or by phone at (662) 614-0491.
She is also a St. Jude Hero and raising money on the St. Jude website. Find her profile and make a donation at http://fundraising.stjude.org/site/TR/Heroes/Heroes?px=4027971&pg=personal&fr_id=67039.