Submit a nomination: Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy
Do you know of a young person or a group of young people between the ages of 12-25 who has played a major role in changing the world? Consider submitting a nomination for the 2013 Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award! The award will be given during AFP Alabama's National Philanthropy Day award ceremony on November 14. Click here to download a nomination form.
2012 Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy: Alex Swader
Nominated by Children's of Alabama
Alex Swater of Mt. Olive parlayed his love of dancing into an annual event that has raised almost $50,000 to fight childhood cancer. But it's not as if the 13-year-old set out to be a philanthropist.
Blessed with talent and chasing a dream of one day dancing on Broadway, Swader won a national dance contest at age 7. Major adversity followed the next year, however, in the form of a rare type of childhood cancer.
Four surgeries and months of chemotherapy later, the cancer went into remission. He has since been cancer free.
It was during chemotherapy treatments that Swader decided he would raise money to fight childhood cancer. He founded Dancers Fighting Cancer, and the group's annual fundraising and awareness event, "Tapping Out Childhood Cancer" has raised more than $48,000 in four years.
"Alex has demonstrated a deep commitment to giving back to other cancer patients," said Dr. Joseph Pressey, a Birmingham pediatric oncologist who has known Swader since 2007. "He has dedicated a great deal of time and energy to making Tapping Out Childhood Cancer a major success. The event has grown considerably and is now recognized as a mainstay of cancer fundraising efforts in the region. Alex has requested that the money be directed toward research focused on identifying and studying new and better therapies for childhood cancer."
Swader has resumed pursuit of his dream, but the philanthropic efford is now center stage, too.
"The best feeling comes when I get to dance a great routine while raising money each year at an event like Tapping Out Childhood Cancer," he said. "that's the best of both worlds - bringing my cancer family and my dance family together."
Swader has made numerous visits to cancer patients in recent years and is known for gifting them with stuffed animals - what he calls "chemo monkeys" - before they face the chemotherapy experience.
"It would be hard to say how many people he has helped or impacted," said his mother, Michele. "As for how many he has inspired to donate or help in some way ... I would say it's too many to count."
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