Bite Me Cancer was formed as a nonprofit foundation in September, 2010, by Nikki Ferraro, who was 17-years old at the time. Nikki was diagnosed with a rare form of thyroid cancer in April 2010 when she was a junior at Chantilly HS in Virginia. Nikki was determined to lead a Relay for Life team just two weeks after her diagnosis. She named the team Bite Me Cancer and experienced immediate success. When Nikki decided to create a foundation a few months later, she wanted to continue the legacy of her team name and thus her foundation became the Bite Me Cancer Foundation.
Within three days of setting up her Relay team online, Nikki raised $5,000! This was exciting news as she was preparing for surgery just a few days later. Thirty friends joined her team and she was humbled by the help and enthusiasm so many brought to the relay effort. Her godmother ordered bracelets to hand out (with the team name on them and with thyroid cancer colors), and Nikki designed two t-shirts that were sold to raise money.
Despite the hesitancy of her parents, who were not in favor of Nikki leading a team and participating in the actual Relay event so soon after having surgery to treat the cancer, Nikki's team finished in first place when The American Cancer Society closed the books. Nikki also finished in 1st place as the individual fundraiser at the event and the #1 online individual fundraiser for the 8-state South Atlantic Region of American Cancer Society. "The Relay for Life experience was amazing!" said Nikki.
Following the Relay in the summer of 2010, Nikki told her parents that she wanted to keep the Bite Me Cancer name alive to continue her focus of raising money for cancer research and to help others with cancer. Her parents weren't in favor of the time and financial commitment a new foundation would take, and they were actually still focused on their daughter's cancer diagnosis and treatment. But Nikki was persistent, and the foundation was created. Nikki was involved in the legal processes and plans to create the foundation and also helped to design the logo and layout of the website, as well as created the foundation's mission and goals.
Nikki and her parents are grateful for all the pro bono consultants (legal, financial, web design), volunteers, board members and advisory council members who have been involved throughout process of establishing and launching the foundation.
Nikki believes that it is very important to support teens with cancer because she didn't find much support when she was diagnosed and in treatment. The pediatric and adult programs didn't address her needs, and she knew that other teens would have the same experience. Nikki also wanted her foundation to raise awareness and research funds for thyroid cancer as it is the fastest growing cancer in the United States.
The Bite Me Cancer board members as of 1/1/2014 are:
The advisory council members as of 3/6/2014 are: