Shalom Life | April 23, 2014

#CureForCourtney Twitter Campaign Takes Off

Celebrities join the cause to help raise funds for Toronto woman battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

By: Sammy Hudes

Published: May 16th, 2012 in News » World

#CureForCourtney Twitter Campaign Takes Off

A large campaign team is using the social media platforms of Facebook and Twitter in attempt to raise enough funds for a 22-year-old Toronto woman in need of an expensive cancer-curing transplant.

Courtney Render, described as a “courageous, vibrant and compassionate” university student has been battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma since November 2009. She has previously undergone two cycles of chemotherapy, four weeks of radiation, an autologous stem-cell transplant and a trial drug in Detroit, but none of these treatments have managed to cure the disease.

Courtney will receive her last dosage of the drug, Bendamustine on May 23. Following this treatment, there will be a short window of time for an Allogeneic stem-cell transplant, which is required without delay and can be performed in the United States for a cost of $600,000.

To help raise money for this procedure, a Twitter campaign has been set up through Facebook, encouraging people to tweet celebrities, athletes, media personalities, politicians and organizations to spread the message about Courtney.

A photo posted to the Facebook event page features a schedule of targeted twitter personalities everyday from May 16 to May 23. Close to 500 people who have joined the cause so far are encouraged to tweet these “targets” with the message, “22 yr old girl from Toronto must raise $600K for cancer-curing transplant. Donate @ thecureforcourtney.com Pls RT #cureforcourtney.”

So far, the message has been retweeted by celebrities including Howie Mandel, Judd Apatow, Jay Baruchel, Taylor Armstrong, Ernie Halter, Dan Levy, Nigel Barker, Michael Beck, Trevor Hall, Evan Starkman, Harley Morenstein, Paul Epworth and Javier Colon.

The cause has also reached interim Liberal leader Bob Rae, Thornhill MPP Peter Shurman, MP Justin Trudeau and Ottawa mayor Jim Watson.

Toronto Blue Jays players, such as JP Arencibia, Casey Janssen, Drew Hutchison, Kyle Drabek and Travis Snider have spread the message as well. Members of the Toronto Maple Leafs, including Colby Armstrong, John Michael Liles, Carl Gunnarsson, alumnus Darcy Tucker, Toronto Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins and Edmonton Oilers forward Jordan Eberle have also done their part.

Tennis star Milos Raonic, who graduated from Thornhill Secondary School the same year as Courtney also retweeted the message.

Journalists and media personalities who have helped publicize the cause include Toronto Sun columnists Tarek Fatah and Steve Simmons, Sportsnet’s Doug Maclean, Entertainment TV Anchor Tanya Kim, Frank Ferragine and Tracy Moore of Breakfast Television, Toronto Star sports blogger Doug Smith and MuchMusic television host Liz Trinnear.

The Facebook event is hosted by Courtney’s younger sister, Eden Render and her friend of over 15 years, Brittany Dale.

Render said that her older sister’s “undying strength, courage, and positivity” is an inspiration to her.

“Her ability to push through everything with a smile on her face always only looking up, is the most admirable and intriguing thing you could see,” she told Shalom Life.

“Although to many people this cause may seem small because it’s [focusing on] an individual, Courtney is someone’s sister, daughter and best friend, so curing Courtney is the number one priority above all else in many of our lives right now.”

Dale also commended the strength shown by Courtney throughout the duration of her illness.

“She is modest, brave and hates to ask for anything,” said Dale, who noted that the campaign is only at its beginning stages.

“Initially, we thought if we could get one celebrity retweet, we would drive traffic to the site, and, hopefully, generate donations. The response has been absolutely incredible thus far.

“From tennis stars to NHL players to journalists to media personalities to politicians, #cureforcourtney is becoming something much larger. However, we know that we still need to attract the attention of a celebrity with a wider reach. Over the next week, we will be building momentum with the goal of reaching something as big as The Ellen Show.”

A gala event will be taking place June 13, with all funds going to The Cure For Courtney. The event will provide people with a night out, featuring silent auctions and raffles. Tickets cost $118 and can be purchased on courtney.eventbrite.ca.

“Were doing anything we can to help Courtney, because Courtney would go across the world and beyond to help anybody she loves and cares for,” said Render.

“I know that with everybody's continuous love and support we will reach our goal.”

Please visit http://thecureforcourtney.com for more info about this cause. The Twitter campaign can be found here.

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