Volunteer Proves “We Can Change Things”
John Quartararo was only two years old when he lost his father, John Paul, to lupus, but since the age of 10, he’s been giving his time to keep his memory alive and help those living with lupus. Now at the age of 16, John organizes events year-round to increase lupus awareness and support the Lupus Foundation of America.
In the 5th grade, John started drawing pictures and selling them for lupus which eventually blossomed into “John’s Lupus Shop” over the years. With movie nights, comedy shows, and even “Pancake Wednesdays”, he’s hosted almost every kind of event you can imagine.
John also understands his efforts keep his father’s memory alive and have a big impact. “Knowing that I can help someone else, no one should ever have to suffer. My work makes it so that one day, another person doesn't have to go through losing a parent to this horrible disease,”
For the Quartararo’s fundraising is a family activity. John’s older sister Alyssamarie, and twin sister Brianna, and mother Maria, formed the “We Can Change Things” Walk to End Lupus Now New York City team in 2012 and have been walking ever since. Through their dedication, the family has raised thousands of dollars for the Lupus Foundation.
Asking for money can be intimidating for most people, yet John had a knack for it at a young age. “In the beginning, I was very nervous. I used to go around with my sisters asking my neighbors for donations. I have since grown more confident in my ways of getting donations. I knew I had to get over my fear of being nervous and shy if I wanted to raise more money, so I got over my fear the more times I asked for donations.”
John said that he’s also learned from his fundraising experiences. He’s learned leadership skills and fundraising has helped him with public speaking. Additionally, John’s picked up graphic design and computer skills through these creative endeavors.
John has devoted a lot of time and energy to his projects, but “Pancake Wednesdays” were his favorite. “I sold Pancakes for a dollar each in school during my periods off, I usually had two grills going, and I had people making the pancake mix in the back, and someone else working with the money. The whole time it was fun and stressful. Some days were slow and other days were so fast I couldn't keep up with the demand. Each Wednesday, I raised over $100.”
After years of fundraising, it may be hard to keep the momentum going, but John likes to try new things to keep it interesting and engage new audiences. He also keeps his dad in his heart, “I push myself to raise more in my Dad's memory. I always say I couldn't help him when he was alive, so I at least I can help someone else. If I'm going to help others fight this disease, my gift of my money raised each year has to continue and grow!”
When asked what he would say to a new fundraiser, he had some great advice to share, “Don't be discouraged if at first people don't want to help your cause. I've realized that once someone hears my passion about trying to make a difference, usually they open their hearts and find ways to contribute.”
We are grateful to John and the entire Quartararo family for their incredible commitment! A little creativity and a lot of passion go a long way. Learn more about John here.