After recognizing their outstanding service and presence in the community, the Fairport-Perinton Chamber of Commerce has dubbed Christopher’s Challenge the August Business of the Month.
Chamber President James Bilotta stated, “We are happy to have a community service organization like Christopher’s Challenge within our membership. In addition to promoting our member businesses, we believe that service to the community, using our time, talents and treasures is very important too. Because of Christopher’s Challenge active participation in our Chamber events, they help to keep community service top-of-mind for us all.”
Before Christopher’s Challenge was even a thought, Kathy Costello's son Chris was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia (at age 8). After months of treatments, he relapsed, which pushed them to travel to New York City for a trial drug. Although the drug brought Chris into remission, Chris still needed a bone marrow transplant. Chris did not have a matching donor in his family. The Rochester community came together and helped immensely with holding two bone marrow drives and typing over 1,000 people. On June 2, 1998, Chris had his bone marrow transplant at age 10 and is now 29 years old.
Christopher’s Challenge came from the experiences that Kathy and her family had to endure. Kathy not only realized a great need for education about Chris’ situation, but she also wanted to pay forward what had been given to her in the hopes of helping other families. She started Christopher’s Challenge in 1998 with a mission to pay for the typing of potential bone marrow donors, support patients and families during unbearable times, as well as raise money through fund raisers for hospital bone marrow units.
The Christopher’s Challenge board is comprised entirely of volunteers and is highly involved in the community. They are active members on both the Fairport-Perinton Chamber of Commerce and the Webster Chamber of Commerce. Christopher’s Challenge runs fundraisers to pay for the typing of individuals interested in becoming bone marrow donors, such as the Gift of Life 5k and Bone Marrow Drives. Also, they have been recipients of the Federation of Social Workers Golf Tournament proceeds. On Friday October 13th from 6:30pm-9:30pm, they are holding a local restaurant, brewery, and winery tastings event at Artisan Works.
Christopher’s Challenge has paid for the typing of over 5,600 people and 30 have become marrow donors, which has given people a “2nd Chance at Life.” Kathy Costello stated, “Educating people on process and eligibility is a huge part of getting people to donate and save lives. Knowledge is power. People need to be aware of the process to get typed and into the registry. It’s not a painful procedure. Please go to the website and learn more: ChristophersChallenge.org.” Like Christopher’s Challenge on Facebook to stay in touch with events.