Nine-Year-Old Raises $10,000 for Breast Cancer Research

First Company Pink held its first Pink Pumpkin Patch Breast Cancer Fundraiser on the front lawn of the County Executive Office in Mineola on Oct. 8th. One person in attendance raised $10,000 for breast cancer research. Even more remarkable than the money raised by the individual was the fact that she is a 9-year old girl.

“People won’t want to carve boring, orange pumpkins,” said Brea Dowell, of Selden, NY. “We get orange pumpkins and paint them and decorate them.”

Dowell’s aunt, Donna Cioffi, was diagnosed with breast cancer, and upon hearing this, Dowell knew she wanted to help somehow. She originally started out with a pink lemonade stand but needed another source of revenue for the fall and winter months.

9-year old Brea Dowell helped to raise $10,000 for breast cancer research through her pink pumpkin patch. LIR photo credit: Cortney Cordero.

9-year old Brea Dowell helped to raise $10,000 for breast cancer research through her pink pumpkin patch. LIR photo credit: Cortney Cordero.

The pink pumpkin patch became the solution for this problem. Since then, Cioffi won her fight with cancer, founded First Company Pink, a non-for-profit organization for funding breast cancer research and continues to inspire women in their fight against the disease.

“We raise money all year round for breast cancer awareness,” said Cioffi. “I minister to women, day or night, to people who need help. I feel blessed that I’m okay, so I just want to extend that to anyone I meet.”

Brea’s fundraising has grown from pink lemonade and pumpkins. She gathers seashells, paints them pink, and writes encouraging words such as “faith,” “believe,” or “survivor” on them. She has partnered up with her aunt’s organization and appears at the events they sponsor, selling items like baked goods, apple cider and hot chocolate.

In many ways, Brea’s life might seem like that of any other fourth grader on Long Island.  She isn’t really a fundraising machine. Her mother, Nichole Dowell, says she has interests just like any other 9-year-olds in gymnastics, karate, writing stories and hanging out with her friends or her little brother, Mikey.

But Brea doesn’t feel that her age should hinder her in her goals. In fact, she only looks to push the envelope. Her new goal is to raise $20,000 for breast cancer research and to eradicate cancer. And to kids who feel like they’re too young to accomplish such tasks themselves, Brea has some advice for that, too.

“Just because of your age, don’t give up,” she said. “You can still do what you wanna do.”

Those who wish to help the cause or want more information should visit firstcompanypink.org.