The Blue Lollipop Project

A Sweet Way To Fund Pediatric Cancer Research While Learning Important Changemaking Skills!

Photo of Riley D
9 12

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Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth


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8458420002 11 Bonnie Ct, Patterson, NY 12563

Website or social media url(s) (optional): Twitter: @thebluelollipop Instagram: @thebluelollipopproject Facebook: @thebluelollipopproject TEDEd: Hustle Video:

Date You Started Your Project Started


Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Established (successfully passed early phases, have a plan for the future)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

The Blue Lollipop Project (BLP) focuses on pediatric cancer research but also aids young people in realizing their changemaking potential and learning critical changemaking skills by holding Blue Lollipop Fundraisers in their community. Many young people don't realize their changemaking potential. There is an epidemic of participation in community service just to get “hours done”, leading to a lack of accountability and sincerity and passion.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Young people across the country have held Blue Lollipop Fundraisers, a simple way to learn some of the organizational and marketing skills so integral to changemaking. Before each fundraiser, I engage in a conversation to understand what the group's goals are and what parts they need support with. Maybe they want help designing digital posters (or maybe they think that in their case it is better to make hand-drawn ones!). Or guidance on how to spread the word! Maybe, advice on how to run the table on the day of. Or perhaps, they simply want someone to cheer them on as they go. Before, during, and after each fundraiser, I am there as a resource. Many times, post-fundraisers, I've received messages of a renewed understanding of how easy it is to get involved in making a difference. Students come out of this learning integral life skills. I connect them with other young changemakers in areas of interest to them. I let them know they can be a changemaker. Currently, too many people hear changemaker and drawback, thinking they don’t fit into the term. They should know that they do. Changemaking is not an exclusive term; changemaking is passion and the will to challenge the status quo.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

I was inspired by Ty Louis Campbell, a brain cancer warrior who loved blue lollipops. I was nine years old when a friend introduced me to Ty's mom's blog documenting his story. I was immediately captivated by him. Ty loved blue lollipops and throughout his battle with pediatric brain cancer, his smile was often tinted blue from a lollipop. As a child myself, it was easy for me to connect to this magic of blue lollipops. Though I never had the opportunity to meet him, the power of a simple blue lollipop has created a connection between us I will carry forever. I knew I wanted to do something for pediatric cancer warriors. And I was told I COULD. I was encouraged. Looking back, that support was essential to get started. I want to help support other young people to have the same realization I did and have the chance to learn the integral life skills associated with changemaking.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

"Hi! I want to hold a fundraiser. I'm seven. Is that old enough to help?" Yes. Of course! Did she have a location confirmed? How about a date? If not, I could help. This kid was ready: a nearby college! Location and date are set. GREAT! Now it's time to continue with logistics. How many lollipops do you think you can sell? Let's figure out the best answer. Once we find that magic number (often somewhere between 200-1000 lollipops), we need to figure out how you're getting the word out. Posters, social media posts and emails are all great ideas. Need help drafting? No problem! The lollipops are there. It's the day of the event. For every dollar donated, the donor receives a blue lollipop and a child in a hospital gets one too. All the money raised supports pediatric cancer research. After, let's keep this conversation going. What went well? What didn't? Why? What did you learn?

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Generally, there are national organizations focusing on funding research/family support, those founded by families impacted by pediatric cancer, and youth-ran projects sending care packages to kids. All have one thing in common: they primarily serve the pediatric cancer community. The BLP is run by young people, supporting pediatric cancer research and sharing the magic of a blue lollipop with children in hospitals and donors but also serving the general population of young people to help them get educated on what changemaking is and how to get involved in their passion in a genuine way.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

The BLP has raised $20,000 for pediatric cancer research, sent 20,000 blue lollipops to children in hospitals and educated millions of people on their changemaking potential through videos, social media, and in-person events. Kids connect to blue lollipops which enables our fundraisers to have an even bigger impact in educating youth on changemaking and allowing them to take part in a fundraiser that excites them. I've come to realize Ty’s impact isn’t in the numbers but in the moments. Moments like when a seven-year-old from Minnesota asks if she is old enough to hold a Blue Lollipop Fundraiser because she has seen the effects of cancer on her family. When an elementary school raises over $600 in just a few hours from single dollar donations. Or when I meet with a Girl Scout troop of 6-year-olds who, when I ask why they chose to hold a fundraiser yell "Because we LOVE blue lollipops!"

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

The Blue Lollipop Project was chosen as a #Digital4Good winner by #ICanHelp and will be speaking at Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park on September 16th about using social media for good and finding your changemaking passion. We have a goal of 50 fundraisers being held by groups who either watch the Livestream or attend the event in-person. We are working on developing a board of youth who want to get involved at a higher level in The BLP. As I go to college next year, it is integral that we have a group ready to take on more leadership that will be difficult for me to do remotely. I know that we are stronger when we work in groups and have multiple perspectives so a Board of youth would only help accelerate The BLP's success.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Board Development

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations less than $100
  • Donations between $100-$1k
  • Donations between $1k-$5k

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French) (6)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Religious minority (non-Christian)

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Participated in previous Ashoka challenges
  • Ashoka page or contact

Evaluation results

7 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 85.7%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 14.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. - 0%

2. Changemaker Quality

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 85.7%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 14.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Creativity

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 57.1%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 42.9%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Commitment

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 40%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Connection

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 57.1%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 42.9%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%


Join the conversation:


This project is insanely cool. It seems very effective and has striking imagery. Out of curiosity, how does the transaction of lollipops work? Do you purchase them in bulk and send them to event-holders? How do you decide which hospitals to send lollipops to?
Good luck on this project, it sounds fantastic!!

Photo of Riley D

Hi Carmen! Thanks so much for your comment. We work with a candy company called FB Washburn Candy Corporation to get our blue lollipops in bulk (they even add extra blue color into them to make them extra blue!) For events held by schools/organizations, we send them blue lollipops and, for every dollar donation at the event, the donor receives a blue lollipop, a child in a hospital receives a blue lollipop and 100% of the donation funds pediatric cancer research through The Ty Louis Campbell Foundation. We reach out to hospitals to see if they are able to accept a blue lollipop donation. If they are, they become one of our Blue Lollipop Approved Hospitals (of which we currently have 10). Groups holding fundraisers sometimes will get approval from their local hospitals as well and we will send the blue lollipops there! Additionally, we have a nomination form where people can nominate pediatric cancer warriors to receive a Blue Lollipop Package.

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