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As Jennifer Rowe’s 40th birthday was approaching, she knew she wanted to do something special to celebrate. 

“I thought about it and decided that the most meaningful thing for me to do was to give something back, rather than receive something,” Jennifer explains. “I was driving home singing along to the radio, and it hit me: not everyone can donate money, but everyone can sing!”

Jennifer quickly got to work on her Champions for Children “40 for 40” fundraiser: In the weeks leading up to her birthday, she would post a music video of her family singing, and challenge friends to sing 40 seconds of a song from 1975 (the year she was born), or donate $40 to the Neurosurgery Department at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.

The fundraiser was more than a birthday celebration—it was a way for Jennifer to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff at the hospital who have given her the greatest gift: care for her firstborn son, Carter. 

“I've experienced many life-changing moments in my forty years but none stand out as much as when we found out Carter has a brain tumor,” she recalls. “At the time I knew very little about brain tumors and the little bit I knew was that brain tumors kill people. The vulnerability I felt is indescribable. Those first few weeks when we had no idea what he was facing were paralyzing.”

Thankfully, the size and location of Carter’s tumor is manageable, and he will continue to be monitored. Through all the tests, pokes, and prods, through all the long days and sleepless nights, Carter’s care team has been with their family every step of the way. 

“From the nurse in the surgery center who always has funny stories to tell Carter when we come in for MRIs, to the Child Life Specialists who help talk him through another IV and blood test, to Dr. Edwards for always reassuring us that while this is a difficult circumstance to be in, we are not alone … each of these people have made a tremendous impact on our family. I am so grateful for their expertise, care, and sensitivity and I hold them very close to my heart.”

Jennifer reached her initial fundraising goal of $2,000 in just one week. In total, the “40 for 40” fundraiser raised a tremendous $7,326 for neurosurgery.

“Organizing this fundraiser really changed our family and helped our boys see the impact of enlisting the support of others to give,” Jennifer says. “I don’t know exactly what’s next, but there will be another fundraiser. It's something I love to do!”

Please join us in thanking Jennifer and her family by posting a comment on her Champions for Children page. Interested in starting a fundraiser or hosting an event? Become a Champion for Children today.