Megan Fucci was sitting in her family's Edward Street kitchen when she decided that she had to do something.
The student had just lost another family member to cancer — this time, her beloved grandmother.
At that moment, Megan's sorrow and frustration focused itself into a clear call to action: it was time to do her part to support those who found themselves battling against the deadly disease.
And it didn't take long to find her path.
"I was talking to my Mom about this and she said, 'Why don't you start making pins,'" Megan told East Haven Patch.
'$1 Donation Each'
Megan says she thought this was a good idea. So, she immediately left the kitchen, went to her room and pulled out her art materials.
From there, she focused on her bucket of air drying clay. She took out a chunk and began making, by hand, a series of ribbon shaped designs — just like the pink cancer awareness pins she had seen worn by so many people over the years.
Once the clay ribbons were dry, Megan than hand-painted and carefully glued a pin to each one.
"I decided that I was going to make the pins and then give them away for a $1 donation each," Megan explained.
"I thought it was a good place," Megan said.
At first, Megan didn't think her fundraising project would move too far past that of her inner circle of family and friends.
"But I was on the bus one day, telling my friend Becca about it. And then some other kids said they would be interested in making a donation for a pin — and then it just spread," Megan said.
With an increasing demand, Megan decided she needed to call in the reinforcements. And that, of course, would come in the form of her twin sister Mary.
"She was making them one day and asked me if I could help. And I said, 'OK,' and just did," Mary said. "And then we just carried on making them."
Looking for ways to increase the amount of donations they could collect, the two reached out to their Girl Scout Troop.
And it didn't' take long for their fellow scouts and their family members in Troop #61194 to pledge their support for the project.
"And now, we have other troops helping us, too," Megan said.
Academy Community Helps Out
From there, the girls decided to ask their principal at the academy, Ms Johnson, if they could also collect donations at school.
Both Megan and Mary went — all by themselves — to talk to Ms. Johnson. Their principal said it would be OK for the girls to offer their pins, as well as collect stuffed animals and other items for Yale-New Haven toy closet.
Ms. Johnson then asked the girls to speak with Ms. Nelson, who runs the National Honor Society at the school.
"We had to type up a paper for the next morning. And then she read it over the loudspeaker," Megan said of their fundraiser announcement.
The two also asked their martial arts instructor, at East Haven's , if they could leave a box for donations at the center.
"And he said, 'Yes, absolutely," Mary said.
"And he's looking to sell the pins there, too," Megan added.
'Orders to Fill'
And their effort — which already includes crafting more than 120 handmade pins — continues to grow.
"We have over 100 stuffed animals so far, and that's just from the girl scouts troop," Megan said.
The girls said they will be dropping off their first batch of donations to the toy closet at the New Haven hospital on June 4.
In the meantime: they will be working together, carefully crafting their pins.
"We have orders to fill," Mary said as she folded and shaped her clay.
For more information about making a donation or purchasing a pin, call The Fuccis at 203-980-7029.