Bite Me Cancer is raising funds Saturday through an event at Burger 21 at Ashburn/Loudoun in which a portion of the proceeds from the day will go toward the organization. Founder Nikki Ferraro will be at the restaurant 6 p.m., along with some board members and volunteers.
Bite Me Cancer, a research, education and inspiration organization, was founded seven years ago after then-Chantilly High School junior Ferraro was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
Reports show thyroid cancer is one of the most rapidly increasing cancer diagnoses in the United States. About four out of 10 individuals will receive some sort of cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, according to Cancer.gov.
Bite Me Cancer is currently raising funds for its fifth thyroid cancer research grant, according to Nikki’s mother, Sharon. The organization has worked hard to support research. Each research grant application is reviewed and approved by the American Thyroid Association, and recipients receive $57,500 over two years. Bite Me Cancer keeps in direct communication with each of research grant recipient, which is a unique arrangement.
“By the end of 2016, Bite Me Cancer had fully funded our fourth thyroid cancer research grant that was designated to a researcher at the MD Anderson Cancer Center earlier this year,” Sharon said.
Bite Me Cancer raises funds throughout the year. In January, Nikki plans to be bartending at a happy hour at the Tower Club. The date coincides with Virginia Teen Cancer Awareness Week in Virginia, which was spearheaded by Bite Me Cancer in 2013.
“Our fifth annual wine dinner is on April 21, 2018 at Chantilly National Golf and Country Club,” Nikki added.
With that dinner, the funds will go toward a widespread teen support program for patients fighting cancer.
“With our Teen Support Bag program, we have distributed 3,600 Teen Support Bags to almost 85 hospitals in 35 states and D.C.,” Sharon said. “They are extremely popular with the teenagers, families, and hospital staffs.”
A James Madison University graduate with a degree in marketing, Nikki works in the human resources department at HITT Contracting in Falls Church, Virginia. She continues to get scans and is taking daily oral chemo and thyroid replacement medication.