For over 25 years, Memorial Sloan Kettering’s annual Bunny Hop has welcomed all to a day packed full of fun festivities. The family-friendly event features children’s performers, food, photo booths, arts and crafts, and far more entertainment. But fun aside, the goal of the fete is a bit more serious: It raises money for pediatric cancer research.
This Bunny Hop is organized by The Associates Committee of The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering, a group of women who volunteer at and raise money for MSK through three major annual events: The Bunny Hop, the Winter Lunch, and the Fall Party. The Associates Committee emphasizes including children in the fundraising and giving-back process, helping them to understand the importance of supporting causes and helping those less fortunate.
One such associate—who currently serves as chairman of the Associates committee—is Allison Aston. The local mother-of-two has taken her son, now 10, to the Bunny Hop for the past nine years, and now brings her 8-year-old daughter as well. Aside from its entertainment factor, Aston says the Bunny Hop opens an essential dialogue between adults and children about cancer.
“[The Bunny Hop] really gives you the opportunity to explain how [your kids] can play a role in the problem-solving part of this, obviously on a very small scale,” Aston says. “I am personally very open with my kids and we’ve talked about what cancer is, who it affects.”
By combining a festive event with an important cause, kids can start to understand the importance of fundraising as well as the reality of why it’s necessary. And aside from the major events, the Associates Committee also hosts smaller events, like candy drives, where kids learn the importance of giving back.
Aston describes adds that the Bunny Hop could be thought of as “the most amazing birthday party for children” and her kids “look forward to it, like Christmas and Easter, like any annual event.” The sense of community is incredibly prevalent because there are indeed so many repeat attendees—though of course, new faces are more than welcome.
The fundraising event is sponsored by children’s clothing brand Bonpoint, who help make sure that the event’s costs don’t detract from the funds being raised for the Department of Pediatrics at MSK.
This year’s bunny hop is scheduled for 5pm on March 13 at 583 Park Avenue.
For more information about the Bunny Hop, visit giving.mskcc.org!