So the 14th Annual SUPER Gala has come and gone and I truly have hundreds of people to thank for it. Every year, as soon as it is over, I say to myself “I’m not sure I have the energy to do another one” and every year I do another one. With my failing health, trying to fund research for a disease that only 70K have, finding donors, begging guests to attend, convincing sponsors that it is worth their money, I find myself up against a wall. I expect to have events as big as the marquee cancer events that bring in $100,000’s of dollars but am always beating myself up when we only raise $70K. That changes this year. I have to look at it like this, 70K patients, 70K dollars equals $1 per person for research. If I was to compare this to breast cancer in Canada it would equal to a mere .037 cents per patient based on 1 in 8 Canadian women getting this disease. When I look at that figure that is absolutely remarkable and I am beyond proud of that amount.
So who is to thank for this windfall? Well like I said 100’s of people but in particular to me it is several really key people. I will start with my family. Dad, Mom, brother, Sister-in law, nephew, Uncle Bob and Aunty Alex. They have been behind me from the start. Not only dealing with me going through the yuckiness of this disease but also working tirelessly for the cause itself. My parents and aunt and uncle were up until 1:30am cleaning up the auction area,collecting all the important stuff and then crawling in to bed. Well they are all over 60 years and that job is hard. I feel so guilty going home at 11pm because I am so wiped and leaving them behind to clean up the chaos and dealing with whatever may come up after I leave. They have done this for 14 years! To you, my family, I love you and I thank you for being in my life. I am alive because of you.
Now to my friends, I have several friends who have been in my life for almost 3 decades to over 2 years but they all would take a bullet for me. To Carol, my friend of 18 years who has come to my house at 3 am after I called her because I thought I was having a heart attack (she’s also a nurse). Thank you for your commitment to ending CF and to loving me as much as you do! To Shaylene, my friend of at least 20 years, who has tirelessly taken on the silent auction for 12 years now. She had her own battle against breast cancer 18 months ago and beat the shit out of it while getting us those auction items. You are one tough MF’er girl and the only one who I would wake up for at 5 am to meet you at the hospital to help you endure a 2 hour MRI procedure. LOL. I am so glad you are still in my life. To Tracy aka Weed, we have been friends for almost 30 years. we met and became fast friends our very first year of university, taking our favourite stuffier hostage and teasing eachother until we crumple to the ground in a laughing fit. I thank you for having your own fundraisers and donating the money to my cause. That was amazing!! I know you would be there for me if I asked and you have always found time to come see me in the hospital even though you live out of town. I appreciate you and our friendship probably more than you know. To Kelly, who I met 11 years ago as she came on board to MC the event as the SHAW TV talent at the time. We became fast friends and have been in each others lives ever since. I cherish you my dear. You too would be there for me in a second to help me. That is so special to me to know I could lean on you whenever I needed to. To Angela and Wendy from my gym, I love you both to bits and appreciate all you do for me in and out of the gym but I super appreciate when you guys clean up for me after a WOD that requires 5 types of equipment and I am trying to catch my breath at the end of it. I know that both of you would drop whatever you were doing to help me with anything. To Oleksiy my friend for 5+ years and my GM of the gym. You are a man of few words but you would move a mountain for me if I asked. That means the world to me. Lastly, to Nathan, my friend and web designer of 10 + years. I know we don’t hang out too much but know that I consider you a friend and I love the commitment you have for CF and appreciate your very important contribution to CF.
There are many other people that I love and cherish and hope to grow our friendships like Stephanie, Holly, Erin, Frazer, Sheree, Nicole, Renee and Laura just to name a few.
Now to the donors, I have had a lot of people step up and sponsor or donate to the cause but not always had them stay with me but there are several that I can count on every year and that is just brilliant. They are Lenny & Phyllis Shapiro. You have been by my side and I see you as these 2 amazing people doing amazing things and helping me to reach my dreams. To Renee from Sobeys, you have been around for almost 12 years also and being that Sobeys is this huge corporation, it warms my heart that you save us a little of your budget for my event. To Stephen from Canadian ViewCorp, you have always been there, an unsung hero doing the behind the scenes stuff that is crucial to the success of an event. I am so glad to have your support. To Scott with EJ & Gallo, I know you have many charities to spend your money on and I am grateful that you continue supporting our cause. To John, with AstraZeneca, you have brought such an amazing amount of support through cash and auction items. You have helped raise a lot of money for CF. I am personally thankful for your commitment to CF and to me. You are so awesome. Thank you to all the companies who continually buy tables and bring guests who spend money. To Rosa and Dom who have introduced us to many of these amazing sponsors and donors as well as making all of your friends attend and BUY auction items. You both have made a huge impact in CF. I am honoured to call you friends.
To the volunteers, you are the backbone of any charity and this year we had several amazing new volunteers join our crew. Welcome to Glen, Melissa and Jeanette. You guys are just amazing and your work ethic is something to be celebrated. To Max Seeley for doing 28 minutes of burpees last year, raising $800 and promising to join our Gala crew. You are such a great asset to the team. A special thanks to Simon Roy, who Max introduced me to, a cartoonist who designed the amazing comic story of a little girl with CF living with her villain, day in and day out. Its a story we will share at every event from here on out. To the many other volunteers throughout the years that have had a tremendous impact, Brandon, Rachel, Rory, Jacqueline, Melanie, Teri, Karen, Lise, and many more.
To the board of directors, the foundation wouldn’t exist without all of you. Thank you Tanya,CA, Rhea,LLB, Harvey, MD, Nancy, MD, Dom and Colleen. We are the little engine that could.
To all the companies that donate great items to us but especially to those that we can count on every year who are too many to name. You have lots of choices to donate to,so thank you for choosing us.
To the guests who attend, thank you for attending the event and for some of you, for taking a chance on us. We are not the big charities and we are thrilled that you show up and we hope that you continue to show up. You are helping me make a difference in a disease that comes with a death sentence.
I love and hate the gala. I love the feeling of bringing all these amazing people together in one room and raising much needed money to figure our a way to stop CF. I hate it because we still need it to find a way to stop CF. It has been an epic 14 years and here’s hoping we don’t need that many more to end CF. A special thanks to my friends and their crazy husbands who dressed up as me for their Super hero (maybe it was a villain) nonetheless I was touched and it was so well done. Love you crazy kids.
My heart is full, my soul is warm, my love tank is bursting. Even though I have really bad and awful days, it is days like this that make me more than grateful for everything I have, despite this terrible disease.
“I don’t care if my cup is half empty or half full, I am just grateful that I still have a cup.”