It’s been a month since the benefit, and I am still decompressing. The morning after I think our entire family felt like they had a hangover, we were so emotionally tired. I am still amazed at how incredibly successful it was!
As the founder, I had some goals and expectations in my head that I was hopeful to meet. My family and board members were careful to keep me grounded and also to work hard with me to make it as much of what I hoped for as they could, but I think some of them thought I was a bit crazy. I really wanted 100 auction items, 100 bottles of beer/wine for the wine pull. I wanted 200 people, and I was so hopeful that we could raise $10,000.
Through a lot of hard work, the auction items started to come in mid-summer, and by fall they were pouring in. In fact when we started selling tickets to the benefit, which proved to be a far slower process, we began to get concerned as a board because we had more items (over 100) than people coming to the benefit. Even two weeks before the benefit was going to happen we had only about 90 people signed up to come. But man, you guys were faithful supporters and continued to buy your tickets up until the last moment. We knew it might be hard outside of the city, and on a Thursday night . . . but incredibly we sold 185 tickets! Over 100 items, nearly 200 people, and just under 100 bottles for the wine/beer pull. My goals were turning into a reality. Then the event happened, the benefit itself . . . it all came together and culminated into what felt partly like a wedding and Charlie’s funeral to me combined. It was incredibly satisfying to have the night become a reality, to see you all attend, to hug so many of you who have supported us for years, but it was also two days after the 6th anniversary of her death. That was hard, that is always hard, but that is also why we do this; we give back, we honor her, we give her life the legacy and meaning that started with her birth, and did and will not end with her death.
That night, hitches and all (you know that check-out line – wowza) was still, in my mind, incredibly successful. We learned a lot as a board, and each year it will get better and better and we will get faster and faster at checking you out. But despite the crazy check out, I have heard, and I am grateful that many of you enjoyed the night and had a great time. You were also wonderfully generous and supportive of the cause and because of that I can’t wait to share this next part with you. We raised over $20,000. Money is still coming in and I imagine it will actually be far closer to $25,000! We blew past my goal of $10,000, the goal I thought was far reaching. We doubled it. Incredible.
This will mean so much for children and families with congenital heart defects. We are so thankful and so proud of our first year. We are already in touch with both hospitals and are moving forward with finding our first family to support. We will continue to keep you posted on the distribution of the money you helped to raise.
Thank you for your beautiful support of pediatric heart research!