We were worried. Attendance was at an all-time low. We had picked a bad weekend, but it was too late to change it.
We took the event off “eventbrite” this year, looking to take the fees they collect and get them to the PTEN Foundation.
It took a whole lot of record keeping, but it was worth it.
We had an “Early Bird Special” and free T-shirts. We opted for a new venue, a deluxe buffet brunch, and beer, wine and sangria for the grown ups.
After months of planning, of soliciting donations, of advertising, Emailing, and distributing flyers, we had exhausted every avenue we knew.
We received so many generous donations that were accompanied by, “I wish I could, but..”
We received so many well-wishes and positive thoughts from genuine people.
But, in the end we were looking at attendance numbers far lower than last year.
We had excellent baskets – Some were gathered by friends and family. Others were given as donations, and many were put together by my loving husband.
Meghan and I wrote out and carefully planned what we wanted to say.
She opted this year to stray from her pattern of creating videos, and she created a Power Point of the year in review instead.
But, as late as that morning the text and phone calls kept coming from people who could not make it.
We walked into the room anxious. Not sure of how the day would go.
We should not have worried.
What this crowd may have lacked in volume they more than made up for in LOVE, SUPPORT, GENEROSITY, and COMPASSION.
They were from all areas of our lives. There were family. There were lots of cousins. There were friends. There were colleagues. There was Meghan’s Physical Therapist, her math teacher, and her former paraprofessional. There were friends of friends. There was Charlie Balloons, and a DJ whose services had been paid by some dear friends as a donation.
There were 42 raffle baskets, and a 50/50. The money generated just from those two things was mind-blowing.
There were 2 schools, PS1 with cousin Kim, and Holy Rosary with our friend Christal, that each raised over $400 at their schools for the cause.
We laughed. We drank. We ate. We talked. Kids danced with balloon creations. There were musical chairs and fun. There was pure love in the room.
When Meghan and I spoke there was silence. Attention. Focus.
Cowden’s Syndrome is understood by this crowd, because of us.
And there stood my daughter, telling this crowd of 100+ that she was tired of “Living with Cowden’s Syndrome.” She “put Cowden’s Syndrome on notice.” She told it, it was time to “keep up with her.” She’s got things to do. Places to go. People to see. She’s growing up right before my eyes.
Not long ago she was a scared and confused 8 year old. Now she is a wise, and mature beyond her years, 13-year-old young woman. She wants the PTEN Foundation to flourish. She wants research, a patient database, and even a cure. She’s 13. There is time to get it right for her, and all the young ones being diagnosed after her. She has drive and ambition.
She chose a song to end her speech. She chose “Let it Go” from Frozen. She toyed around with a few songs, but this is the one that spoke to her, at this moment. This one got to her heart. And you could tell, as she belted it out acapella.
In the end, as people with full bellies, and big smiles, hugged us goodbye, they spoke of “next year.” They said this one was “the best yet.” We felt loved and full of gratitude.
And as we sorted through the finances, we were struck with something amazing. Jeans for Rare Genes 3 would be making a cumulative donation of just over $12,000 to the PTEN Foundation. This love, this event, these people, the generosity of so many, had generated an amazing amount.
Our hearts are full of gratitude.
A donation of over $12,000 to the PTEN Foundation. Because of you.
Thank you for valuing a cause that matters so much to my family. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for supporting us from near and far. Thank you for your never-ending generosity. Thank you for your prayers and good wishes.
Because of you we remain #beatingcowdens!