If you were with us at “Jeans for Rare Genes” you heard me announce we had received a grant for $2500 from the Richmond County Savings Foundation.
This story Inspirational Staten Islander to host Fund Raiser ran on February 4th. On February 8th I was contacted by the Richmond County Savings Foundation. The story had been read, and it was suggested we apply for a grant on behalf of the PTEN Foundation.
We are relatively new to the fundraising thing, but with a lot of help, we got on track and completed the application. The PTEN Foundation President, Kristen, spoke with them to get the 501c3 papers squared away. And – about 10 days later we were notified of a $2500 grant, awarded to the PTEN Foundation!
We included the grant money in all our fundraising totals for the event, but today we got to go to the office to receive the check. We got to meet Mr. Cesar Claro, who noticed Meghan’s story. We got to meet Ms. DeSapio who helped us so much via phone and Email.
Meghan took the day off from school, because my speaking time is so limited, and because she’s the reason all this happens anyway. It was just right for her to be there.
We gathered in a conference room with about 10 incredibly inspirational people. I loved how professional, yet casual the whole experience was. Amounts of grants were not discussed. Checks were distributed in sealed envelopes, but first , everyone spoke about why they were there and how the grant was going to help.
Meghan spoke a little about Cowden’s Syndrome, and how we are hoping the PTEN Foundation will be able to inspire research on our disorder. She did great, as usual.
We got to hear from a teacher, and his school’s work with Habitat for Humanity. We heard from “Metropolitan Fire” and how the grant would help their organization.
We got to meet Dennis McKeon From Where To Turn, and hear about the work his organization does on Staten Island.
We heard about the Moravian Church garden and their donations of food.
We met E. Randolph Wheagar from 2nd Chance Youth Empowerment Program, and we were inspired by their community work as well.
We met Jennifer Dudley from Staten Island Children’s Museum and learned about their efforts to “spruce up” the museum.
We met a few other incredible folks as well, one whose organization was obtaining deeds to local neglected cemeteries so they could be maintained. In the absence of pen and paper a few are slipping my mind, but it was a fantastic experience. It was an intense 45 minutes!
Perhaps the one that touched our hearts most was Mr. Capolongo who spoke of his son Michael with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. If you are not familiar with the genetic disorder, you can get some information here. Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy It is a genetic disorder affecting about 1 in 3,500 boys. The body lack dystrophin, and without it muscle cells become damaged and weaken. It is progressive. Michael is 11. They have 2 other healthy children. They are a family like ours. Dad is a policeman, mom is a nurse and a breast cancer survivor. Yet, they have managed to create a not for profit, Michael’s Cause and have raised a million dollars to help fund research, and hopefully, ultimately a cure.
In the 30 minutes we sat across a table I felt inspired, and connected. I respect so much the positive outlook, and the awareness that even in strife, others have it worse. I respected the acknowledgement that every day is a gift, and life can change your perspective quickly. These are things we identify with in this house. Those are principles we live by.
Meghan and I often feel a little more “at home” in the presence of others with rare disease. While they are all so drastically different, the difficulty, the fear, the unknown, the isolation, they all overlap. And what also overlaps are your decisions in how to handle them.
I was reminded of my own girl, at the age of nine telling NY1 that. “You have a choice, you can get angry or you can DO something.” And, “I feel like I was put here to DO something.” Watch this clip and reminisce with me.
Today we were full of gratitude. Today we were inspired by others. Today we were reminded of our own mission. Today was a continuation of an ongoing goal, and a reminder that it matters. It all matters.