By Christine Bryant
It wasn’t too long ago that Nellie Krumlauf was thrilled with her accomplishment of raising $3,000 for families fighting pediatric cancer.
Now, eight years later, her organization, Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids, has raised almost a million dollars and has turned into a nonprofit on a national scale.
“I am so thankful and grateful that the Columbus community has been so encouraging and welcoming because these kids and families need more help,” she said.
A Reynoldsburg High School graduate, Krumlauf started Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids at just 16 after watching her grandmother lose her battle to cancer.
While doing research on the disease, Krumlauf discovered childhood cancer is the least funded type of cancer and the No. 1 leading cause of death by disease of children.
Her original plan was a one-time fashion show with funds raised going to Nationwide Children’s Hospital. As she started the planning process, however, she met a little girl named Eden, who was going through her second battle with cancer. Yet Eden couldn’t wait to model for Krumlauf at the fashion show and at future shows.
Since then, Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids has grown to a national organization with branches throughout the Midwest and as far west as San Francisco, helping families struggling with childhood cancer with both financial and emotional support.
In 2008, Eden lost her battle to cancer, but Krumlauf said Eden is with them in spirit in everything they do, especially as they enter into an important year for the organization.
“This year is a very defining year for us as we are transitioning to our next stage of a nonprofit,” Krumlauf said.
Goals for 2014 include continuing to serve more than 300 families, growing to 15 branches, adding a new fundraiser in June and adding year-round internships.
Helping kick off these goals was a September tour in which Krumlauf traveled to more than a dozen cities on the East Coast in a 32-foot wrapped RV.
“The goal of the tour was to raise more awareness for childhood cancer through presentations, news interviews and “she said. “This in return has helped expand the NC4K name to eight locations outside Columbus.”
Traveling 6,000 miles in the RV, Krumlauf and representatives from the nonprofit visited New York City, where they stood outside the “Today Show” studio with posters and met news anchors to tell them about NC4K. Country singer Keith Urban was visiting the set that day, and signed their “September is for the Kids” poster to auction off for donations, Krumlauf said.
The organization’s name and mission also was featured in Times Square for a week, exposing the nonprofit to more than a million people a day, she said.
Their trip also included eight college visits, 4,000 wristbands passed out and visits with four other nonprofits to collaborate with in the future, she said.
For information on Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids, go to www.nc4k.org.