RAI-Chicago Kickoff Party

On November 6th, Rise Above It (RAI) officially expanded to Chicago with its RAI-Chicago “Kickoff Party” at Emmit’s Irish Pub. The event was attended by over 70 people and coincided with the Cleveland Browns-Denver Broncos game. Even though the event was not a fundraiser, Emmit’s generously donated a portion of its bar sales to support RAI. The event was a resounding success and serves as the perfect springboard for future RAI-Chicago events.

RAI is expanding to Chicago to increase its fundraising base and to serve more patients in need. RAI-Chicago plans to launch exciting new fundraising events to help fund its rapidly growing patient demand.

RAI-Chicago’s first official fundraiser will be a Super Bowl Benefit at Casey Moran’s in Wrigleyville on February 1, 2009.

Please contact James Maday at james.maday@raibenefit.org if you want to volunteer or have questions regarding RAI-Chicago.

RAI attends the 2008 LIVESTRONG™ Summit…

RAI representatives, Jackie McNamara (Chair, Corporate Sponsorships) and Ryan O’Donoghue (Founder/President) served as delegates at the 2008 LIVESTRONG™ Summit. The four day seminar took place July 24 – 27 at The Ohio State University campus in Columbus, Ohio, and included a Presidential Town Hall on Cancer on July 24.

Jackie and Ryan were identified and accepted through an application process to be inspired by renowned keynote speakers and to become empowered through hands-on training sessions. Jackie studied Grassroots Fundraising, while Ryan studied Grassroots Advocacy.

The Summit hosted nearly 1,000 delegates representing cancer survivors, medical professionals and non-profit leaders from all across the country. RAI took advantage of the amazing networking opportunity to learn and grow, and as a result established new partnerships that will help provide Adolescents and Young Adults with support services they need in their fight against cancer.

Lastly, RAI played a small but important role in hosting the LAF Board of Directors in Ohio. With the help of Kristen Luff, LAF directors were able to enjoy a wonderful dining experience at ‘M’ following a long day of meetings. As a result, Jackie, Kristen and Ryan had the privilege of meeting LAF leadership - including Lance! See below for pictures from the weekend:

Click here to view RAI's photos from the Summit!

Click here for a history of the Summit.

Inaugural Black Dress, Yellow Tie

On June 13, RAI hosted over 150 guests at its Inaugural Black Dress Yellow Tie. The evening was an opportunity for RAI to educate and thank supporters, to demonstrate its growth in just two years as an official non-profit, and to raise money benefiting adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer patients.

A host of guest speakers, featuring Doug Ulman – President of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, inspired attendees by sharing their personal experiences and their commitment to Rise Above It in the fight against cancer.

With the generosity of individuals and community partners who donated gifts for a silent auction, along with support from event sponsors (listed below), RAI was able to raise $15,000 to benefit AYAs fighting cancer.


Guest Speakers

Dr. John Letterio, Rainbow/UH Pediatric Oncology Division Chief, gave an overview of the nationwide AYA crisis. He noted that the lack of awareness extends beyond the public and into the medical profession. "Doctors are not taught or trained to detect cancer in the AYA age group."


An RAI Beneficiary testified about her heroic journey with a rare form of blood cancer and the financial support RAI provided at a critical time during her treatment. "Man can live forty days without food, three days without water, eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope. That is precisely why programs like RAI are so important, they provide people like me hope that we would not otherwise have, hope that assures us of financial security and thus peace of mind, hope that enables us to continue pursuing our dreams, as I have." The beneficiary will begin her medical residency in the fall at Northwestern McGaw Medical Center.


Gary Waters, Cleveland State Head Men's basketball coach, revealed to the audience his own cancer treatment, spoke on the importance of faith in dealing with life's adversities and committed his support to RAI: "I am going to support Rise Above It; Cleveland State is going to support Rise Above It."


Doug Ulman, President of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, spoke candidly of his own AYA cancer survival and how the setting of unimaginable goals transformed his diagnosis into his life mission to help end the "cancer epidemic in America".

"This event and RAI's significant outreach efforts demonstrate a remarkable commitment to the cancer fight."


The event was proudly made possible with the support of:

Sponsor websites:

Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital
University Hospitals - Ireland Cancer Center
Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Magazine

For video of the recent Inaugural Adolescent & Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Symposium in Cleveland, presented by University Hospitals – Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital Ireland Cancer Center and Rise Above It (RAI), please click here.


Special thanks to all of our supporters in attendance on June 13th!

Click here to view photos from the evening.


Additional thanks to The Discovery Band for the wonderful live entertainment.


SWC Schools host IDOL Talent Show raises money in support of RAI

On Friday, May 2, 2008, Cleveland’s Southwestern Conference (SWC) High Schools collectively hosted an "IDOL Talent Show" – students from competing schools came together to perform various talents for a great cause. The event took place at the Westlake High School Performing Arts Center. Two acts from each high school in the SWC performed in the SWC IDOL. Proceeds of over $10,000 will be donated to RAI and 100% of the proceeds will benefit Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) cancer patients and survivors.

Thank you Southwestern Conference teachers and students!

Country Music City ½ Marathon

Saturday, April 26, 2008
Nashville, Tennessee

On April 26, Ohio University Alumni, Suzanne Morse "Roth" and Liz Jacob ran in the Country Music City ½ Marathon in memory of RAI Founder & Inspiration, Colin O'Donoghue.

The day started out with some rain, but cleared just in time for the race start time. It was an amazing experience and the first half marathon for both Libby and Suzanne. They pushed through a hilly course passing enthusiastic supporters and dozens of bands to reach the finish line in less than two hours! Both girls had a great time and plan to run again next year... Thanks for everyone who contributed to Libby and Suzanne’s fundraising efforts and for supporting Rise Above It (RAI) in the fight against Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) cancer.

"...Turning 30 certainly was a milestone in my life, one that an unfortunate few are not able to celebrate. This was the case for my friend Colin. Colin and I met in college, but our friendship grew in June 2003 when we attended a music festival together. I still say Colin gave the best hugs ever! Colin was a wonderful, thoughtful and giving person. He had an unbreakable spirit, always smiling and always positive."
– Suzanne Morse

Click here for photos of Suzanne's run!