Nikole Scappe, who has von Willebrand disease (VWD), held a fundraiser for the National Hemophilia Foundation in support of the Red Tie Challenge. Scappe is a nonvoting member of the NHF Board of Directors and serves on the World Federation of Hemophilia Youth Leadership Committee.
What is your history with the bleeding disorders community?
As a child, I was treated for recurrent hairline fractures in my bones. I had about 16 casts before I turned 13. After my mom sought an explanation for her own constant bruising, she and I and my four brothers and sisters were all diagnosed with VWD. And it turned out all those “hairline fractures” were actually bleeds.
What was the inspiration for your fundraiser?
I had the idea when my boyfriend and I were celebrating his birthday and we took a prom-style picture. I thought, “We should have a prom!” It’s called Second Chance at Prom because everyone has these dresses that they buy for weddings and then don’t get a chance to wear again. So it’s a chance to come out, dance, get dressed up and raise money for a good cause.
Why did you make it a Red Tie Challenge theme?
It took place in March, which is Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month. And I really want to give back to the organization that has given me so much. My goal is to make sure everyone with a bleeding disorder has access to treatment and adequate healthcare. I know how important that is because my HTC (hemophilia treatment center) in Pittsburgh transformed my life. I hope I can inspire young adults and older adults to want to give back as well.
How did you pull the event together?
I’m president of my marketing club at La Roche College. The club helped me with some of the logistics. They greeted guests, took photos and helped set up the room. I was able to get the banquet hall donated, and we sold tickets and just donated the proceeds to the Red Tie Challenge. We had about 120 people attend, so it was a big success.
Did you set a fundraising goal?
I set a goal of $3,000. I asked my friends at school, people at work, my professors at school. Even if they didn’t come to the event, a lot of people made donations. My mom made a Facebook post where she said she needed 20 people to donate $15. That got a much bigger response than we were both expecting—about $500! I definitely surpassed my goal. I’m really happy about that.
Did everyone wear red ties?
Of course they wore red ties! I love the Red Tie Challenge. I’ve been collecting pictures of people taking the Red Tie Challenge from all around the world. I ask people constantly to take the challenge to raise awareness and money. People think I’m crazy, but I take a red tie with me everywhere I go. I tell my friends and family you can just call me Miss Red Tie Challenge 2017.