Tuesday, July 20, 2010

BBQ success!

Saturday the 17th of July we had our first annual BBQ for Finley to raise money for Foundation Fighting Blindness.  We are walking as the Finley's Fighters team on October 2nd in Pittsburgh.

We decided this year we wanted to do a fun fundraiser event.  We drove from Connecticut to Pennsylvania last Thursday night and spent all day Friday getting my parent's yard set up for the event.

Friday the set up went quickly.  We had a ton of help from family and friends (thanks to all of you who were here!)  We couldn't have done it without them.  We finished in record time thanks to all the help.

After we got everything set up, we went out to dinner and relaxed for the evening - knowing that the next day would be really busy.

Saturday my mom and I were up at 6:30 to start getting things ready for the day.

By 9am we had a ton of people here to help us get food ready.  (Thank you GiGi, Pap-pap, Orlandos, Helen Branthoover, Aunt Betty)

(my 90 year old grandfather helped us set all the tables)

By 12pm - we looked like we had been ready for hours!  We couldn't have done it without all of that help.  Please watch the slide show of pictures to see all the people who donated their time to help with our day.

People came steadily the whole day.  I enjoyed getting a chance to see friends I haven't seen in a long time.

Visiting with neighbors, and family and family friends all afternoon.  This slide show is just about everyone that was there that day.  Thanks to Larry Orlando, I now have great memories from the day. (click on Larry's name to see his wonderful caligraphy website!)

Even the folks from Foundation Fighting Blindness came and set up a table and talked with people about the work their foundation does.

 (Dina, Mat, and Matt)

We served hot dogs and ham BBQ, and noodle salad (which I need to put the recipe up for!), and chips and drink and fruit.  Oh, and of course - cookies!!!  We had so many yummy cookies lovingly made by friends and family.  I am enjoying the left overs.

The day was a huge success.  So many people came out to support our family and this wonderful cause.  We were overwhelmed with people's generosity.  We could never thank you enough.

 (Aunt Tricia had a splinter.  Poor girl)

It is hard to calculate how much was made from the BBQ, because we had money given to us BEFORE the day of the BBQ by people who couldn't come but still wanted to support us.

And we have also been receiving money in the mail since the BBQ.  It has been AMAZING.  I don't have any other words.

 (GiGi Pletcher, GiGi Appolonia)

I can tell you this.  We are at $6700 total raised so far.  Our original goal was $5000, so we passed that!  We were blown away.  So we set a new goal (of course!)  The more we can raise, the better a chance to a cure for Finley.

I have started to send the thank yous to all of the wonderful people who donated.  I ran out!  So don't fret.  If you donated, your thank you is coming!  I ordered more, and the thank yous (and magnets for those of you who many not have gotten one at the BBQ) will be in probably next week.  Then they will be on their way to you.  I wanted you to know that because I think acknowledging your generosity is VERY important.  We won't find a cure without you, so you need to know how much your help is appreciated.

While at the picnic, I was able to show many people the importance of braille and how the brailler works.  I had brailled Filney's Fighters bookmarks for everyone who wanted one.  If you didn't get one (or you would like me to make you one) just leave me a comment below.  It only takes me a couple of minutes, and it is FREE.  I would be happy to make you one!  It gives me practice.

 Mat and I also got to talk with two families who have blind family members.  We have local friends  - one gentleman is blind and the other is a family with two young daughters.  We had long conversations with them and it was nice to see what is coming for us.  I thank them for their patience with our questions, and willingness to talk with us.  They showed us that there is NOTHING Finley can't do with or without sight.

 By the evening - with all of the extra help - we had everything cleaned up and put away.  We were lucky to have such wonderful helpers that made everything run smoothly.

 (Andrea Swan - my second grade teacher.  She still has the same amount of infectious energy)

There were our two winners!  We had a winner from the drawing for everyone who donated $50/person/$75 a family and the winner of the $100/family donaters.

Congratulations to Tracey and Orville Strauser for winning the $50 worth of gift cards.  Contact us so we can talk!

And Congratulations to Tammy Sprock and her son Noah!  You are the winners of the $25 worth of gift cards.  Contact us so we can talk.

 Thank you Aunt Jess for doing facepainting and balloon animals.  You were such a hit!

 (Arlington wanted to face paint some people as well.  that was interesting)

Thank you to Judy Haines and Diane Ratai for checking in all the people and helping with T-shirt orders.  That was such a big job.

 (Arlington painting Marge Orlando)

Thank you to Marge and Larry Orlando for about 1 million things.  But most of all - being selfless when our family needed you the most.  Including all the pictures in this post today.

(my mom and Mrs. Orlando.  Arlington tells us that Mrs. Orlando is a bunny.  Yeah, okay)

Thank you to GiGi and Pap-pap Appolonia - for making all the cookies, helping us set up and clean up, and being the usual work horses they are.  My grandparents are 85 and 90 and they run circles around me!
Thank you to Aunt Betty and Helen Branthoover for coming down first thing Saturday morning and cutting up all the fruit and help us get all the food ready.  And Aunt Betty -thank you for coming Friday and helping us set up.

Thank you to Ben Pletcher (Mat's dad) for coming down on Friday and Saturday to help with set up and clean up AND for bringing us all the chairs we needed.  (And Sally -even though you couldn't be here - thanks for the yummy cookies!)

Thank you to Mike Prestia and Jim Haun who helped with set up and clean up on both days, and  - just like my grandparents - has an amazing amount of energy and stamina.

Thank you to everyone who donated chairs and tables and tents.  That made our day SO successful.

And thank you to everyone who came and supported us (of course).  It.was.amazing.

 (Arlington made me a vampire)

I am never going to be able to put all the pictures up today, so you are going to be hearing from me several times this week.  I hope you can take it!!

To all of you who love our family and want the best for our little girl - know how much you mean to us.  Whether you know us personally, through our parents, or are just people who saw our story and wanted to reach out - know that all of you are extensions of our family.

We know you are behind us all the way.  It gives us comfort as we watch Finley's vision get worse to know that you will be there fighting with us as long as it takes.

If you didn't get to come to the BBQ, but would still like to donate in Finley's honor to the foundation, you can contact me by leaving a comment, OR - you can donate right online on our visionwalk page right HERE   Just click on the word "HERE" and it will take you there.

You can also leave a comment if you would like a Finley's Fighters T-shirt or Long Sleeve shirt.  The T-shirt is $8.00 and the Long Sleeve is $11.  These are COST.  We would love to spread the word with our shirts - tell everyone who asks our story.  And of course - we want you to walk with us in October, so we will be wearing our shirts as a team!

 Tomorrow I will be back with more pictures!  And more stories from our fun weekend (BBQ and Kennywood)

And I will post the recipe of the noodle salad that all of you wanted!

See you tomorrow!

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