Wilsonville business owner Kyle Bunch is raising money for the Children's Cancer Association

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Wilsonville business owner Kyle Bunch has put up a Hearts of Joy wall at his office off Parkway Avenue to help raise money for Portland-based Childrens Cancer Association. Cancer is so common in American life today that it’s understandable some might tune out the pink ribbons and other symbols of awareness that continue to proliferate seemingly everywhere.

Kyle Bunch hopes that you won’t let that happen to you.

That’s why the local businessman, owner of the Kyle Bunch Agency, has put up a new Hearts of Joy wall in his office space off Parkway Avenue in south Wilsonville. It features a photomontage of children served by Portland’s Children’s Cancer Association, a nonprofit group dedicated to providing fun and joyful experiences to children dealing with cancer treatment and recovery. At its heart are a dozen or so heart-shaped picture frames bearing the faces of children sponsored by donors to Bunch’s current fundraising effort.

“They have a small version of granting wishes, not as big as Make-A-Wish, but they all are able to pull off some cool wishes,” said Bunch, who is only four years removed from college yet is already running his first business as an agent for American Family Insurance.

“One of them sent a kid to L.A. recently to try out for America’s Got Talent,” he added. “That was the kid’s wish.”

February is a key month for the CCA, as it holds a pair of big fundraisers. The first is Hearts of Joy, which features local vendors like Bunch running campaigns in their businesses. Donations to the cause will be accepted through the end of February, Bunch said, and will complement any funds raised by his planned advertising on local radio and television stations.

“There are lots of little components to their program and they’ve grown immensely since they started in Portland,” Bunch said. “That was another thing that drew me to it, is that it’s very local.”

Portland couple Regina and Cliff Ellis started the Children’s Cancer Association two decades ago in the wake of their own experience with serious pediatric illness. Today, the organization specializes in delivering immediate help to children and teens facing life-threatening illness, overwhelmingly involving cancer.

Bunch has always had a knack for community service. He started working with the CCA eight years ago as a freshman at the University of Portland. That year he became one of the group’s “chemo pals,” assigned to a child recovering from cancer at the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. It was a life-changing experience for the outgoing teen.

“I got drawn to this group particularly because I was up visiting Doernbecher as part of Key Club in high school,” he said. “I got to visit the cancer unit at Doernbecher and saw kids who had an amazing joy for life even though in some cases they had terminal illness.”

Since then Bunch has worked with a number of other chemo pals. Some have successfully navigated treatment lasting as long as 2 1/2 years. Others have not survived. The emotional toll that has taken caused Bunch to step back from the program for a period of time before picking up where he left off.

Nowadays he’s excited to involve his new business, an American Family Insurance branch he opened last July.

All you have to do is visit his office or pick up the phone and call to find out how to help. Bunch hopes to raise at least $2,500 by the end of the month. He is also working with the Wilsonville Chamber of Commerce to help that group raise another $2,500. Finally, if he reaches that goal, then American Family Insurance will match that amount with a further $2,500.

“There’s a need,” Bunch said, who noted that many groups already are raising money for cancer research. “But the Children’s Cancer Association really is all about providing that fun and that joy to kids. They realize other organizations are doing the research and making sure there’s money, but they are all about directly benefiting the kids.”

At a Glance:

Kyle Bunch / American Family Insurance

30240 SW Parkway Ave., suite 200

Office: 503-427-9915

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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