Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Newbie's Perspective

March 21st was a beautiful, clear, sunny day, just like the day of "The Event." After a very typical Sunday morning with my family, my wife Dana and I packed up the kids and made our way to the Masonic lodge in Manchester for the 2 P.M. check presentation.

I was excited to see my charitable work to it's conclusion and share that with my family. I believe that giving is the strongest motivator when it is matched with personal passion. By showing my children the importance of giving, I hoped they would walk way with an appreciation for life and remember this rewarding experience. Spending time with Liana & Rosa might be powerful to them as they are all small children.

Thinking back to March 7th, "The Event", the day could not have been better. The volunteers gathered early and were such an organized bunch that it was clear to me that this was going to be a great day. The members of the BIA have done this event over and over for many years, so the only unknown was my efforts as event public relations manager, "the BIA Rookie." Steve Aldi, the BIA chairperson was on top of his game and flawlessly orchestrated all event volunteers from planning through implementation.

9 A.M., the first of the community breakfast patrons enters the downstairs hall at the Masonic lodge and the controlled chaos begins! As for me, I'm snapping pictures left and right and capturing video to document our efforts. The deserving Simmons and Doane families arrive minutes apart around 9:30 to find the hall already teeming with people. By 10 A.M., we are preparing the "extra" tables that were staged and ready to handle any potential overflow! What a wonderful problem to have! We planned on serving 250 meals, but it was clear that someone was going to need to make a food run or else risk disappointing the crowd that came out in support of Rosa and Liana.

By 11 A.M., the patrons were still filing in and we served meals even as we were beginning to beakdown tables and chairs at noon. All that was leftover were a few dozen bagels and a gallon or two of milk. We were cleaned out! As I leave the Masonic lodge, my spirits are high and I am empowered to take on more charitable work.

The BIA member organizations had proudly sacrificed our time and energies to raise funds for the medical and related expenses of Rosa and Liana. To see both young girls interact with one another and display such large smiles at the community breakfast was all the payment we could ask for in return.

Getting back to March 21st, we presented a BIG fake check, followed by a more meaningful, small one shortly afterward. Through all the efforts of the BIA, the grace of God, the cooperative weather and two wonderful and deserving children, we were able to increase the proceeds by $1500 for a total of $4000 provided to Liana & Rosa. After the presentation, we gathered to eat, drink, talk and reflect on the events of the past few months.

Why I say giving coupled with passion is a powerful motivator lies in the fact that my beautiful wife is a cancer survivor of more than 5 years. I would go to the ends of the earth to help those with cancer, especially when they are beautiful children, a gift from God to be cherished, nurtured and protected. For more than ten years, Dana and I have been involved in the South Windsor Relay for Life as survivor, caregiver and as participants. We hope you pick a charitable endeavor and pursue it with passion!

I invite you to attend, donate or repeat this memorable story of "The Event" as a way to continue to help us do more for children with life threatening illnesses next year.