As my daughter Elizabeth and I spoke of, in the blog post two week’s ago, the long anticipated fundraiser for Adler Bear Carris (my grandson who has been stricken with pediatric brain and spinal cancer) was held last Saturday evening. To say the least, it was a huge success − greatly exceeding everyone’s expectations, including mine.
I will readily admit that prior to the event I was a little apprehensive about the attendance. Would people really show up? On Saturday, as the 4:00 p.m. starting time drew closer, that apprehension grew. At 3:45 p.m. everything was in place: All of the silent auction items were out on the tables; the band was set-up; Lucchese’s buffet line was ready; the wine was chilled and the beer was cold; the kids’ games area was in place; and all of the volunteers were ready to go. At 4:00 p.m. not a soul was in sight…except the many wonderful volunteers, of course.
At about 4:15 p.m. my worst fears were shattered as people started coming and coming. Not only were people lined up at the door to buy their tickets, in fact at times they were lined up down the sidewalk and into the parking lot waiting to get in. To my amazement it stayed like that on and off for the next two hours.
Officially, we had about 355 people purchase tickets. And with the many volunteers we likely had over 375 people in attendance. That number doesn’t include all the kids younger than 5 years of age, and there were plenty of them. All in all, we are estimating that close to 400 people showed up throughout the evening. WOW! What a turnout!
The silent auction items were endless. People and many organizations donated hundreds of items including more than a 100 gift cards, autographed footballs, basketballs and team jerseys, flat-screen TVs, artwork, photos, gift baskets, Weber grills, tool sets, furniture and, of course, wine.
On the wine that was being auctioned: It was a stunning lineup of California wines most from grandpa’s personal wine cellar. Special thanks to Dallas Bergl for his contribution to the wine table. Up for auction were such gems as Harlan Estate red wine, Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet, Bond red wine, J. Daniel Cuvee red wine, Joseph Phelps Insignia red wine, Araujo Cabernet, Vinoce Cabernet Reserve, Switchback Ridge Cabernet, Tiedemann Signature Series Red Wine, Glenwood Cellars Pinot Noir and Vinoce Cabernet Franc just to name a few.
A special thank you to the many folks who bought wine at the event…especially Dallas Bergl, Tom Pletcher, Alex Strati and Gus Feiler. It also goes without saying that we want to thank the hundreds of other folks who participated in the auction and purchased everything but a few gift cards. You are all just wonderful.
I want to thank Jamie Maure of James Maure Photography for taking photos of the entire event. At this point, I am going to follow the old adage “A Picture is Worth a 1,000 Words” and let you see the evening in photos in this slideshow.
The final tally is not yet in on how much money was actually raise as there are still auction items to be paid for and a few outstanding checks to come in. Aside from those items, the amount raised is way beyond all of our expectation, as the current total is over $20,000.
Another highlight of the evening was the arrival of one Adler Bear Carris. Daughter Elizabeth had expected Adler to stay at the event for 45 minutes to an hour. Fortunately he made it almost three hours and had a wonderful time. When asked he quickly said he was having fun. He played, he danced, and as it should be, he got to be a 5-year-old for a little while.
There are so many people to thank for the success of Adler’s event. I am sure I’ll miss some but believe me it isn’t intentional…it’s just the fact there were so many wonderful people and organizations playing a role in the event we may not be able to remember them of all. Let me start by thanking the many members of Adler’s Army especially the initial three ladies who started the ball rolling: Patti Buss, Angela Fann and Brandi Graves. Other indispensable top players in Adler’s Army were Mrs. Tiedemann, Rachel Dick, Jenn Burns, Carrie Mohr, Cherish Patterson, Sandra Willis and Deanna Clark.
Special thanks go to Ross Miller, (my long time real estate partner) the evening’s MC and auctioneer. Some said we should have never given him a microphone. Thanks to the band High Gravity; to Ashley Schlegelmilch and Tarrin Wright for using their talents to paint the faces of a lot of smiling children. Thanks to Matt Lester of Bevertainment Bartending Services for mixing a bunch of kiddy cocktails and for entertaining us with his flair bar-tending skills. Also thanks to Honey Shea, Devon Dean, Darlene Seavers, Karen Shackle, Dan Graves, Krissy Wingard, Christlina Brown and Ray Carris for all the hard work in setting up the event and keeping things going throughout the evening. Believe me it was a lot of hard work. Thanks also to all the wonderful costumed heroes who joined us…they sure made a lot of people smile…especially the younger crowd.
I would like to also extend a special thank you to Pete McCown of the Elkhart County Community Foundation for their assistance in funds collection; to the team from Lucchese’s restaurant for their donation of all the great food and the ladies who staffed the buffet line; to Chip and Summer Lewis of Iechyd Da Brewing Company for donating some great craft beer; to Rose and Mark Miller of Twisted Cow Frozen Treats for all the cups of frozen yogurt…you made a lot of us happy and yes Mark looked good in his ‘cow suit;’ to Kathy Sears and her team at Mutual Bank for their assistance…there was a lot of change to count; and to Nicole Sullivan and Terry Hostetler who twisted a lot of balloons into belts, swords, and other amazing figures. Last, but not least, I want to thank Officer Scott Garver and the FOP for donating their building for us to use for Adler’s event. In the “it’s a small world” category it turns out that Scott’s wife and Mrs. Tiedemann are related.
As I have said two or three times in this post, I am amazed at the number of people who came to Adler’s event in support of this little guy who is fighting for his life. Some people came to support Adler, some to support the family, some to support the fight against Childhood Cancer and others just because someone needed help.
Our family appreciates everyone’s kindness, generosity, hard work and most of all their kind words, thoughts and prayers. The success of this event and Adler’s fight against cancer was and will be because of this tremendous type of support.
To quote our friend Pete McCown “What a great community we live in.” God bless each of you.
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Until next week,