James Fujiwara, Director of Risk Management
In 2006, James Fujiwara, AVP, Information Technology at Bridgepoint Education, and his close-knit family were struck by tragedy. His mom lost her battle with breast cancer and passed away in November.
“It was the worst time in my life,” said James. “Without the outpouring of support from my family and close friends, I don’t know how I would have made it through. That support was very important and, when something like that happens, you really begin to understand the meaning of true friendship.”
Watching his mom fight the disease and living through the experience with her inspired James to become involved with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a foundation dedicated to education and research about the causes, treatment, and the search for a breast cancer cure. “It’s one of those things that you don’t really know about until it touches your life. I have to admit, I knew almost nothing about this cause until it impacted my family,” said James.
After participating in a few races to support the Susan G. Komen Foundation, James and his network began exploring other opportunities to raise funds for the cause. A brainstorming and collaboration session with friends evolved into the first “Cocktails for the Cure” to benefit breast cancer research, held in October 2010.
James eventually incorporated the event into its own non-profit, allowing him and his team greater power to decide when and how to organize events for the cause. “Each non-profit seems to claim a month, which is why we throw our major event in October to support National Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” said James. “But I never understood why they wouldn’t try to fundraise year round.”
Embracing that sentiment, James’ non-profit staged their first smaller-scale event in July of 2013. It was a Happy Hour held at Johnny V’s in Pacific Beach. Attendees paid $10 at the door, which translated into more than $1,300 raised.
“It was our first smaller-scale event, so I was very pleased with the amount raised. For right now, we just have the two annual events, but who knows what the future holds,” said James. “I am so grateful to have several wonderful people in my life who are just as passionate about the cause as myself and who want to help.”
On October 17, close to 200 people are expected to attend the fourth annual “Cocktails for the Cure,” held at Side Bar in downtown San Diego. Pre-sale tickets to the event are $20 and include a raffle ticket, a pink-colored beverage, and some bites to eat. James and his team are hoping to exceed the $10,000 raised at last year’s event.