When Lynn Murphy took it upon herself to organize a fundraiser, she knew she had all the tools at her fingertips.
The Wyckoff mother of three had the organizational experience, personal drive and access to a powerful social networking group.
What she didn't have was a cause to which to contribute.
Murphy initially considered a number of different worthy recipients, including Wyckoff schools and Angels of Hope.
But then she thought closer to home, of her mother Lorraine who is a breast cancer survivor.
"She was diagnosed 5 years ago and recently had a major surgery," Murphy said. "She is the driving force behind every well intentioned thing I do. She's my best friend.
"Watching her physical and emotional recovery made a big impact on me and her strength inspires me. I'm doing everything I can to fight to eradicate this disease."
So Murphy, along with a dedicated group of women, have developed a unique, community-based fundraising project that benefits breast cancer awareness, education, and research.
The project — '074ATE1: Cooks For A Cure' — is a cookbook composed entirely of submissions by local Epicureans, and dedicated to victims and survivors of breast cancer.
The group — which includes local members such as Wende Pettit, Julie Juba, Suzanne Anderson, Alison Herman, Susan Sobkowicz and Lisa Hagy — began earlier this year as a spin-off of the popular Facebook page, and under Murphy's direction quickly developed into a fundraising machine with the goal of supporting the Avon Foundation for Women Breast Cancer Crusade.
"My intention all along was to reach as many people as possible with whatever dollars we were going to donate," Murphy said. "It was also important that I knew how much of that money and where that money was going."
She said that 88 to 90 cents of every dollar donated to Avon goes to educational programs, awareness campaigns and research.
"That's what I really felt this should be about," Murphy said.
"Lynn's been a great leader," said Suzanne Anderson, 074ATE1's publicity chair. "The idea was really born from her idea... and [then] came together naturally."
Anderson praised Murphy's management and leadership skills, adding that the cause of breast cancer was a particularly apt one.
"Many of us [in the group] have school age children and we're just seeing more and more people being personally affected by this — all of the schools have young moms who are getting mastectomies," Anderson said. "I feel like it's happening to women who are younger and younger. It's frightening."
Murphy said the group was motivated by a desire to honor every one of those women who had been, or will be, affected by the devastation of a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.
"The sad fact is that right now the odds are [that] 1 in 8 women in their lifetime will be diagnosed with breast cancer," Murphy said.
Considering that there are about 1,000 women on the Wyckoff Moms Facebook page alone — and just fewer than 9,000 in the township — the number of women in this small community that will be touched by breast cancer is staggering.
"It's about solidarity in this sisterhood, coming together for an emotional cause — a common cause," Murphy said. "It's about legacies of bravery and strength."
The group has been also embraced and by individuals and local businesses.
Murphy said that nearly 150 people contributed nearly 400 recipes. Pre-orders have already begun for the cookbook, which is being released just in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.
The book costs $20 if pre-ordered, and $25 if purchased after its release.
Ads have also been placed by generous local businesses including , , , , Red Mango, , , and .
In addition, a number of local businesses are holding events to help boost the group's coffers:
- Blue Moon will have a community night on Thursday, July 25, to benefit the group. Twenty percent of all sales — eat in or take out — will go to 074ATE1, just make sure to bring a copy of the coupon (attached to this story.)
- will have a 10 percent "Give Back Night" for 074ATE1 on August 8. (The flyer is attached to this story.)
- will host a cocktail party on October 3 at 7 p.m. According to the group, The Brick House's owner Aldo Cascio will be donating the ballroom and 50 percent of the cash bar sales to the group.
- will host a small wine and cheese party on October 11 from 6 to 9 p.m. with 15 percent of all sales going to the group.
- Red Mango, the as-of-yet unopened yogurt shop in Boulder Run, has committed to donating 20 percent of all proceeds every second Thursday in August, September, and October to 074ATE1 Cooks For A Cure.
Murphy said she would like to see the "Cooks for a Cure" initiative blossom into other even more projects in the future.
"For me and a lot of other women on the [Cooks for a Cure] committee, this is not the type of fundraiser where we do it and just say 'OK, we did our part for breast cancer,'" she said. "This is a cause that's close to a lot of people's hearts."
She said the group was hoping to tie their efforts into other fundraising activities in the future.
"I feel like you can't do enough, no one can ever do enough until this is gone," Murphy said. "But in order to get to that point, the funding needs to be there. Everyone has to do there part."
"I'm doing this for my daughter, so she might not ever have to face a diagnosis like this in her lifetime," Murphy said. "And I can tell you I'm not done."
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