Thursday, March 21, 2013

I've never been more amazed by the generosity of others.

I'm going to tell you a little story. About 2 years ago, to this week I signed up for Take Steps for Crohn's and Colitis. I had no idea what I was getting myself into or where it would lead me in my life the next 2 years.  Those 2 years have been a whirlwind and I am still amazed with everything the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America does and lucky for how involved I have become with them.

So, back to the story starting 2 years ago. I had been dating my boyfriend for about a year and a few days before St. Patrick's he told me his friend passed away from complications related to Crohn's Disease and his surgeries. This really hit home as at the time I had been diagnosed with Crohn's Disease about 2.5 years prior and my Mom had Crohn's Disease since before I was born. I had even met his friend once before and only heard wonderful things about him. I went to his viewing that week and knew instantly I had to get involved somehow to help all of us with Crohn's Disease and all IBD's.

That year as I mentioned I started a team for Take Steps for Crohn's and Colitis. I had no idea what I was doing and just figured I would try to raise a few hundred dollars. My team of 5 somehow managed to be the top fundraising team (until the walk at least) raising over $5,200! I surprised even myself that we even came that far. The next year I was asked to do it again and I figured I would but not go so hard with the fundraising. My team of 4 still raised over $3,500. All of this money went directly to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America.

This past Fall I helped the family of my boyfriend's friend with the planning of the annual T-Red Memorial Golf Classic which has consecutively raised over $13,000 for CCFA each of the past 2 years! It is one of the most wonderful events ever and everyone is there for the same cause. Everyone is there for Tommy and it is one of the most touching events I have ever had the privilege of being a part of. Later on in the Fall I made 350 KBTM Cakes mini cupcakes for the CCFA Spotlight which is a wonderful gala to raise funds for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America.

This year I decided I wanted to have a bit more of a challenge. CCFA also offers an endurance training program called Team Challenge. I am going to be participating in a half marathon on June 1 that I am now training for with multiple runs each week and raising funds for. I officially started my fundraising site on February 11. In just one short month I had gotten to 68% of my goal of $2,500. It is now only March 21 and I am at 90% of my goal having raised $2,245.

Every time I get one of those givingsupport e-mails I get antsy just to open it to see who it is from and how much they donated. Every time I see it and read the messages they leave me I am so humbled beyond words.  Every time I see who it is I am even more amazed because these have been people who have been a part of my life in different stages, many of them not in the current stage, yet they are still supporting me and I have never felt better and happier to have known these wonderful people.  Every week I bring in my KBTM Cakes cupcakes to sell for donations, I am blown away by what I find in my jar from my overly generous co-workers. It isn't the $24 I should get because I only ask for a $2 donation for each of the dozen. Weekly I have found $83, $52, $42 and so on, always more than I should get.

Let me tell you something. When I first signed up for this I was intimidated. I was so worried about raising money and that it wouldn't be enough but I never should have even had these doubts. I signed up for a reason.  I signed up for my wonderful Mom, who without her never ending love and support and help I never would have been so fortunate to have been diagnosed with Crohn's so quickly and get on the road to remission so quickly within a year. I signed up for Tommy because he never should have lost his battle with this horrible disease. I am running for them and myself so that no one else will lose their battle and so that those of us in battle can finally end this war.

I just want this to be my official thank you to everyone who has ever supported me in the past 3 seasons whether it was Take Steps or Team Challenge this year. When I said blown away earlier, I am literally blown away by the generosity of my friends, family, and co-workers. I never expected any of this and I am such a lucky person to have all of you as a part of my life because without you all I wouldn't be where I am and neither would the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America!

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