The Story of Rally For The Cause
And now… Rally To Celebrate Life
In 1992, Emily Warden was seeking a new type of fundraiser – something to draw in younger women from the Marin community. As Executive Director of the American Cancer Society in Marin, she called her friend, Jan Spars, a tennis player. The brainstorming started, the network began building, the ideas were buzzing – and Rally For The Cause was launched.
Jan, who is still a member of the Rally committee, recruited her friend Mary Lou Ibershof, another tennis player. “We started with 11 people,” said Mary Lou, the committee’s first chair.
No one who’s ever experienced the Marin volunteer spirit would question the power of the possible when a few Marin women get together and decide on a plan of action. “I’ve always considered Rally to be the best example of a fundraiser volunteer committee,” said Emily, who lives in Berkeley and later became Executive Director of the American Cancer Society’s San Francisco chapter.
Dedicating the tournament to breast cancer developed in the second year, said Gail Charap, a breast cancer survivor who joined the first year and became Chair the second. In 2001, Rally merged with Marin Breast Cancer Council, now To Celebrate Life Breast Cancer Foundation. “We never knew how long Rally would go on, but the reason is the women – they are fabulous,” said Gail.
Linda Blum, who joined the Rally committee in 2001 and was a Stepping Out model, is also a member of the Board of Directors of To Celebrate Life Breast Cancer Foundation. She credits “heartfelt commitment” as the core of the Rally spirit and the essence of the larger Foundation. “Everybody has had breast cancer or has been deeply affected by it,” she says. “This is a lifelong commitment. The needs are very immediate, and the rewards are very measurable. The day of Rally has such energy and such sentiment.”