Saturday, December 10, 2011
Well we have officially started...and stopped fundraising! We began in August with our big family/friend garage sale and it took off from there. I never expected it to get as big as it did, or do as well as it did. I thought the bottle drive would be a lasting event until May when we left, but I think I did 5 trips of bottles...and poor Graham, Mikey and Jon did a really yucky, huge trip! (Thanks guys!)
The big family garage sale was huge, I thought we'd have a little pile and that would be it. I guessed wrong! People from church, family members, random friends and strangers all donated items and poor Jenny, Gramma and I were pricing and organizing for hours at a time. It was CRAZY!! I had contacted the newspaper thinking they would maybe do a little write up and that would create more foot traffic, little did I know, she would be on the main community page. A huge write up and pictures explaining what we were doing! It was so cool and that really made it happen. 2 nights before the sale I was organizing at Jenny's when a woman showed up with her daughter and she explained why she was interested and that they wanted to be involved. She donated $5000 on the spot to Jacey. There were many tears and hugs (poor lady didn't know I was part Hudkins and I hugged her like 5 times). That is when I knew camp would happen for Jacey and she really got the ball moving. The garage sale was a HUGE success, people stopped just to donate, they bought bread for $100 (Gramma's bread rocks but sorry Gramma, not $100 worth!! hehe), they donated their own garage sale earnings to Jacey. There was another newspaper picture with info about the garage sale. It was great. We raised alot that weekend and it was so great to see all the family support.
We were then contacted by Walmart who had seen the newspaper article and asked if they could host 2 BBQ's for us. They wanted to help Jacey, who lives in the comminuty. We did 2 BBQ's on 2 separate Fridays...even Gramma and Grampa drove out for the best hot dog they have ever tasted....I'm sure of it! We raised $1000 and then Fort Sask Walmart doubled that. Unknown to us, the store manager had contacted Walmart Canada and they decided to match the amount...again tears and hugs to the employees occured. (Excpet the manager, he did NOT look like a hugger) So a total of $4000 was made to Jacey that afternoon. The same newspaper write had come to do pictures and a large write up again...I asked if he as sick of seeing us yet!
Next was a large garage sale in Fort McMurray. A bunch of Emily (my mother in law's) old staff had asked if they could "throw something together". I thought it would be a tiny little thing. Not so. It took place in my old elementary school gym and there were over 25 tables of things. There 3 tables just for all the baking that friends and strangers did for Jacey. Over 10 companies from Fort McMurray donated items for a raffle as well as some beautiful quilts from Mom and Aunty Sylvia. M&M meat shop donated their grill and food for a BBQ to run at the same time. It was HUGE!!! There was another write up in the Fort McMurray paper about it and there was huge interest. There were even a group of construction workers outside who came and had lunch at the BBQ and at the end of their day showed up with a $200 cheque that they had done up for Jacey. It was AMAZING and hugely successful!!!
At the end of the sale while we were cleaning up, a man and woman showed up looking for us. They had read the article and run a foundation called KIDS FOREVER. They had decided to adopt Jacey for the year. They have a large dinner, dance and auction where they raise most of their money and then choose 10-12 children to adopt every year and Jacey was one of them. They gave us a $3000 cheque and again can you guess.....tears and hugs and tears. They offered to pay for her wheelchair. Although her chair will be 100% covered, they offered then to help pay for the van and adaptations we would need to make. 3 weeks later we were invited back up for the KIDS FOREVER fundraising event. My parents, Jon's parents, Jacey and all the couples who helped in the Fort Mac garage sale came. There was a delicious meal (the chef brought out an early little plate just for Jacey, she was starving) and then a silent auction, a live auction and company presentations of funds and then the family recognition. They had picures and write ups of all the kids they were adopting. (Don't worry guys I picked the cutest pic of Jacey I could find) It was an amazing night to be a part of. They presented us with our cheque and I almost passed out. They had given each family somewhere between $12,000 to $20,000. Jacey received $17,000. It was such a surreal experience.There were again many tears and hugs and we all had to speak...you know Jon, strong and silent type. So while I was bawling I had to get through some type of thank you and speech.
There are still things happening for Jacey. Retrospect Photography in Fort McMurray is donating a portion of each of her sessions to Jacey until March. Fort Sask Towing is donating a portion of every service call to Jacey until May and a friend of mine in the Fort does photography and is auctioning off a few sessions that she will donate the money to Jacey.
As I sit here typing it all down, tears stream down my face. I would have never in my wildest dreams thought that this would happen for our family. It is a tough, tough business raising kids...and it is a tough, tough business raising special kids. I know that Jacey was meant to come to our family, and this success just shows how much she is loved and supported by not just our family, but friends and communities. It is still surreal to me, I look at the fundriasing bank account and pinch myself. We are so excited for camp and for her changes that will occur. Thank you everyone for all that you have done to help get us there. Couldn't have done it without all your love and support. Thanks!!
Love The Bird Family (Jon, Alyson and Jacey)