Whew. 2020, am I right?? In my year end review for 2019, I claimed that 2020 would be the year for vision and clarity, and through the struggles, I think that’s exactly what we found. While experiences across the nation and the world were different, our overwhelming feelings at the end of such a challenging year were those of gratitude. Gratitude for the love and support of family, friends and even strangers. For health care workers who continue to put themselves in harm’s way to care for us. Gratitude for our jobs and our home, for our safety and health. We know all too well how quickly those things can fall away and how in an instant…it can all be gone.
This year was challenging for non-profits all over and ours was no different. Our source for grants with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation was all but shut down. Medical labs for research were closed and projects put on hold. Awareness events like CureFest were canceled. And because we were unable to host any events, we lost our primary source for fundraising.
And yet, through the incredible generosity of our community and donors, we were still able to raise over $35,000 this year! The three projects we fund were able to make progress. We still hosted our annual birthday toy drive with great success and, while we weren’t able to deliver in true grand fashion, in September we were able to drop off about half the toys we collected. Generosity of our donors allowed us to fund several thousand dollars in emergency covid relief funds for clinic patients, and late this year, we funded a new version of our beloved book nook, allowing kids the opportunity to select and KEEP a book of their choice or read on tablets in the clinic. We rounded out our year honoring a very special family with the Kate’s Kindness Award. Seeing everything we’ve been able to accomplish because of your generosity, it’s no wonder we’re left feeling such gratitude.
I believe now, in my heart, we truly did achieve the vision and clarity I’d hoped for this year. Our vision is as tried and true as it ever was. Raise awareness. Raise funds for research. Give back to the community. I am so grateful we’ve never felt the pressure to stray from that. And as for clarity? I think we’re going to keep on doing what we’re doing. We will hope for more events in 2021, but we will never put fundraising over the safety of others. As soon as it’s perfectly safe for us to do so, we will, and with excitement. We will keep honoring Kate. We will keep telling her story, and by doing so, hoping that it helps another child or family along the way. We will keep giving back in any way that we can, and we will keep striving for the path to a cure.
As we settle into our season of deepest grief as the fifth anniversary of Kate’s departure for Heaven approaches, it is so important that we pause and extend our truly heartfelt appreciation for you now maybe more than ever. Without you, there would be no us. Because of you, we get to keep our promise. Because of you, we get to do for them. Until childhood cancer is extinct.