“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” ~ Mahatma GandhiOur organization relies heavily on our volunteers. We are unique in that we require daily support from our volunteers. Nearly everyday of the weekend, there is an FGP volunteer doing something in the community. He or she might be delivering a meal, doing clerical work, recruiting volunteers for events, snapping photographs, finding sponsorships, planning an event or mowing a lawn. Because of all these jobs, our organization needs as many volunteers as possible! To that point, we want you to know that if you fill out our application
and do not hear back in a timely manner, please let us know! I received a call today from a very enthusiastic, giving woman who is eager to volunteer. Due to a technical glitch, her application never made it to our database. Not sure how or why this happened, but it did. I am so thankful that she called to follow up rather than thinking, "FGP must not need volunteers that badly if they don't even get back to their applicants." Believe me, we do get back to our applicants and our Volunteer Coordinator does an amazing job of keeping all of that running, but sometimes things happen that are beyond our control. I also received an email this week from an interested volunteer who expressed that she was disappointed she had not been welcomed more into the FGP community. That made me sad to think that someone would feel that way, but it also prompted me to figure out what to do about it. We are going to start offering our volunteer trainings at different times to fit more people's schedules. We also are more than willing to talk to volunteers who want to know more about us. We have many volunteers who would be willing to share their experiences and what they have gotten out of being an FGP volunteer. My point? Just ask or reach out. If you haven't heard from us, there is definitely an error of some sort! We are trying our best to keep it all running smoothly but sometimes we hit bumps and may
miss something or someone along the way. Please email us at email@example.com if you find yourself in a position of wanting to know more or because you haven't heard from us. We will be so glad you did!
One morning, I mentioned to a friend that I was heading to a funeral for a 6 year old. Her eyes filled with tears and she said, "No one should ever have to go to the funeral of a 6 year old." and I know she meant that no 6 year old should die which I agree with but after attending the service, I realized that EVERYONE should have to attend the funeral of a child who lost a battle to cancer. Everyone should have to face the mother of a child as she walks gracefully across the vestibule of the church looking both beautiful and brave and greets them with a hug which, of course, leaves them speechless for fear they will break down.Everyone should have to witness the number of people impacted by this loss as indicated by the large number of people dressed in green (the child's favorite color) filling the pews of a large church.Everyone should have to witness a mother declaring that she is very shy but because her boy had been so very brave as he fought cancer, the least she can do is speak about him. And as she stands there and shows her own bravery, in front of all the people there to honor her sweet boy, and shares that he was so much more than a boy with cancer, Everyone should have to feel that pull as their heart breaks for this brave young mother who will never hold her son again. And everyone should have to come to the realization that the audible sobbing they hear is their own as the father speaks to his son with so much love and passion and tells him, "No more blood draws, No more chemo, No more meds, No more MRIs, No More Cat Scans, No More Doctors, No more Nurse Practitioners,....and No more doing what you don't want to do." Because then maybe EVERYONE would realize that pediatric cancer, the number one non-accidental killer, is stealing the childhood of too many children in our communities, is breaking the hearts of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, friends, children, teachers, and perfect strangers. Don't wait until it is a child you love. Find out what can you do to make a difference with our organization and keep in mind there are so many other ways to help including spreading the word by talking about pediatric cancer, raising money for research through amazing organizations like Alex's Lemonade Stand or 46 Mommas, by writing to your congressman about the lack of funding for pediatric cancer, and so much more.
Imagine if EVERYONE did something.
A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from Tawnia Brown of Jack Brown's Tattoo Revival explaining that each year, they select a local nonprofit to benefit from their event called Tattoos for Community. She told me that they found FGP and loved that we were truly grassroots and helping families facing cancer. She talked about the success of the past events and then asked if we would be interested. I wanted to jump up and down and shout, "WOULD WE BE INTERESTED???YES YES YES." but I tried to remain calm and giddily said yes, please! Since then, I have had the pleasure of meeting Kenny and Tawnia Brown and going to their shop. Last week, my kids came with me to meet them and pick up flyers. Everyone was really friendly, kind and professional. My kids got lollipops (the little stinkers even got second ones since they weren't thrilled with the flavor of the first) and we all got a little tour. Some of my kids observations will give you a vision of Jack Brown's:1. My 7 year old said, "It smells like lemonade in here." Jack Brown's is clean; so clean that it smells like lemonade. 2. One of my 5 year olds said, " There is art everywhere." Yes, there are amazing, colorful displays of art for you to go through to get ideas for your tattoo.
I am talking true artwork. Being there made me develop a true appreciation for tattoo artistry. 3. While looking at the flyers from past events, one of the kids said in an amazed voice "He drew that?" I felt the same way when I saw all the talent in the shop and you will, too. Some things to know about the event.....First, all proceeds come back to FGP. YEP all! Not 10 or 20% but all. Every last bit! It is first come first served and the word is there is often a line. It takes place August 11 and 12 beginning at 12. Some things to know about the owner....
Kenny Brown is inspired by photography in National Geographic. How do I know this? Well, because a friend told me and then also because I found the article online where he is quoted IN National Geographic. Some helpful links:FB Event PageJack Brown's Tattoo Revival Articles from FLS start about them We hope to see you there!!!
Laura Leporati is Richmond's Coordinator. What her chapter needs more than anything is more volunteers. There are always more families in need but without the support of volunteers, she cannot support more families! Please consider helping get the word out about their need for volunteers or consider volunteering!
Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of promoting Fairy Godmother Project in the media. I say it was a pleasure because I’m happy to do anything to get the word out there about what FGP does. However, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t nervous! I am not a huge fan of public speaking and the thought of thousands of people watching me on t.v. and listening to me on the radio is not high up on my list of favorite things to do. But really, who DOES like that? Probably not too many people.
My first stop on the media tour was with Channel 8 news
. One of our volunteers, Kim Ludwig, had a connection with the news station that helped get a spot for us on the noon segment. I was able to drag Kim along with me, and she helped calm my nerves a little bit. After sitting behind the scenes watching the reporters and weatherman, it was our turn to get miked up and stand in our spots. The reporter had prepped us, telling us what she was going to ask so that we could prepare our answers. We knew we would only have about two minutes, but boy did those two minutes go fast! There was so much more I wanted to say! Once it was over, and before I could even get in my car, my cell phone already started ringing with requests to help families.
My next stop on the tour was with Kat Simons from Lite 98. She had helped me with another event previously so I wasn’t as nervous this time. She decided to take a video
on her flip camera and posted this on her blog. She was trying to help us promote our gift card drive that we had going on in May. Kat has a big heart and always wants to help people in our community. She even stated that she would love to help make meals for our families! Again, my phone was ringing right after the interview with another request to help a family.
The radio interview also happened because a friend of a friend of a friend happened to know Kat. We are doing everything we can to tell our Richmond and Fredericksburg communities about FGP. If any of our supporters happen to know somebody (or know somebody who knows somebody) in the media that could help us promote FGP, we would love to hear about it! Newspapers big or small, radio stations, magazine articles, bulletins, etc. They all help to tell our communities about the service that is here for families battling this beast and for potential volunteers and sponsors who would like to be a part of our movement. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
with interest in helping with marketing and media contacts. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer in Richmond email email@example.com or
A few days ago we got word from a family that they were in need of more support. Of course, they didn’t ask for help because asking for help, even when facing pediatric cancer, is really hard. Immediately thoughts went to their exhaustion and stress and how feeding their family has to be an afterthought. So, as the parents and hospice care for this amazing child battling cancer, it was agreed that we would reach out to our volunteers to help take care of the meals.
(So you can understand how amazing our volunteers are, follow this timeline)
1. Email went out at 3:51 Wednesday requesting a bit extra for this family.
2. Within a few hours we had commitments from 10 people to bring both breakfast and dinner items.
3. Less than 24 hours later, my freezer looked like that.
4. At 3:00 PM Thursday, this was stacked in my foyer and the generous volunteer who brought this also brought iTunes gift cards for the kids in the family.
5. Some time after 3, a cooler arrived filled with fresh fruit, a meal, food for lunches and breakfasts plus a large bag of bread and goodies from Panera.
6. While at my son’s football practice, I got a text from a volunteer saying that she was amazed at the amount of food in the cooler on my front porch."Food?" I thought. I had just emptied the cooler. So, when I returned I found that the cooler was full (AGAIN).
7. Then another volunteer dropped off food AND paper plates plus a bracelet that says, "Say it! Fight it! Cure it" which she gave me in honor of this family and the others we know fighting brain cancer (May is Brain Cancer Awareness Month).
8. And today was more of the same filled with deliveries and generosity and, as a result, <that is my freezer now.
9. And just now movie tickets were put in my mailbox to give to the family so they can get out.
Today, when I went to drop off the things pictured above after number 4, I was greeted by the family with so much appreciation for the volunteers and the items given. She talked about how much the siblings appreciated the iTunes cards and how the berries that were dropped off (# 5) were mouth watering and how they were playfully fighting over them. I handed her the paper plates and she said, “OH Yes! That is just what we need!”. They commented about the other paper products and how much they need them and now they don’t need to run to the store for them. It felt so good to know that our volunteers brought some joy to this family when they need it most and FGP eased some of their stress.
And then, the dad said, “It makes a difference.” These words and that moment are permanently etched in my heart. I joked with him a bit about it because the alternative was crying and this family doesn't need my tears right now. And so, when I got in the car I cried. They were not sad tears but tears of joy. Joy that FGP exists, joy that all these people, strangers to this family, just dropped their own stuff and showed up to help, joy that these people had wonderful suggestions for ways to help this family that we hadn’t thought of and carried them out and joy that this man who is facing the unthinkable is feeling that FGP's support IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE! I guess some of the tears were sad tears, too...sad tears that pediatric cancer exists.
Everyday throughout our community, these little acts of generosity and kindness are happening. In Fredericksburg, our volunteers make and deliver 14 meals – 2 for each family- each week. While I know all that is going on with FGP, these last 24 hours made the reality of FGP and all that it is accomplishing feel more real. I am so proud of all we have accomplished in Fredericksburg and now in Richmond. The hard work of our board, business partners and volunteers (in no particular order) that help make it all happen is beyond description. Each and every one of you is making a difference (DO you hear me??We are making a difference!!!Isn't that awesome? Isn't that what it is all about???). Thank you for helping strangers as they face the most difficult of times and thank you to our families for opening your hearts and homes to us.
PS . As I prepare to hit publish (the second time, the first time, I lost the whole post). one of our volunteers just pulled up and dropped a meal. AMAZING!
We tried to take this with us as a keepsake but couldn't figure out how.
Months ago, Stephanie and Andie received an email from the Dean of the College of Business at University of Mary Washington, Lynne Richardson, with an invitation to speak on March 22nd to her Leadership class. The following is each of our accounts of the experience.Words from Andie, Program DirectorHOPEGoing into this class was extremely exciting for me as I love to share what FGP is all about, to tell the story I have told so many times about an amazing little girl named, Evy and all that her battle inspired. When we arrived, we had no sense of what this experience would be like but as soon as the students began filtering in, shaking our hands and introducing themselves, I realized we would be presenting to a room full of leaders, not typical college students. I felt hopeful being with these kids especially when people are always talking about "Kids these days (insert eye roll)". Those people haven't met Lynne's class.I have tried to figure out how to best describe the experience, but time and time again I return to one piece of the experience; a student named David. During the course of the presentation, he made comments and suggestions that got my attention because they seemed fueled by knowledge. He suggested we get in touch with Ronald McDonald House, Georgetown Medical Center and made a joke about kids who have had chemo. As soon as his wisecrack came out, I realized he had to either be a survivor or very close to one. I have learned from my friend Jill that sometimes humor is the best medicine but there are some rights around cancer humor. If you haven't faced it, you don't have those rights. At the end of our talk, David shared that he is a pediatric cancer survivor. I am not sure I can articulate why, but that moment was very moving for me. It made his validation of what we are doing and of some of my statements all the more valuable because he lived it, and while he may not remember it, he has heard the stories, seen the photos (which he swears weren't pretty) of what it was like for his family. Having him there made me feel very hopeful for the future of all the cancer kids whose families I know and love. Realizing that despite the side effects of cancer treatment, one or all of FGP's kids could very well beat the odds and be sitting amongst a group of college students who applied to get into a leadership class, who are eager to give back to their community and who weren't afraid to be moved to tears as we shared what FGP is and what it means to us, filled me with hope. Thank you all for filling me with a sense of hope.
Words from Stephanie, Photography DirectorI thoroughly enjoyed meeting with the students in the Leadership course at the University of Mary Washington last week. I was a little nervous about it as I'm not great at public speaking, but once we met the students and their wonderful instructor, I felt at ease. The first thing that impressed me was how most of them walked into the classroom and came right up to us to introduce themselves, shake our hands, and thank us for coming. Wow! Hello future leaders! As Andie began our presentation with how Fairy Godmother Project started, the students all listened attentively, I never saw any of them even sneak a peek at a smartphone (and they didn't even snicker when I was teary- we always seem to get teary about FGP). I didn't feel nervous when it was my turn to talk and I loved that the students nodded and asked questions and were really engaged during our presentation. My favorite part of the experience though, was when their instructor asked them to tell us how we exhibit the 5 characteristics of leaders that they had learned in class. Hearing these young adults, in their own words, talk about how we "model the way, inspire a shared vision, challenge the process, enable others to act, and encourage the heart", in relation to Fairy Godmother Project, brought me to tears (again). It was amazing and humbling. I am thankful for the time we spent with them, so impressed with each one of them and what they had to offer, and have no doubt that they will all do great things (maybe even make a difference in the world of pediatric cancer one day).
In October, right after FGP had our big break and our local paper did an article on us, we quickly reached out to the community for support. One of the restaurants that we approached for date nights for the moms and dads we support was FoodE. At the time, FoodE wasn't even a year old but having eaten there I knew that it was worth pursuing because the food is truly mouth watering.
All the Reasons We Love FoodE:
1. During a meeting to establish a partnership, they didn't kick me out when my daughter, loudly, exclaimed that she didn't like the cookie she was eating (Which I quickly shoved in my mouth as an apology. The melting chocolate chips and perfectly delicious cookie caused me to wonder, in that moment, if Annalise might be missing her taste buds). Not only did they not kick me out, but they laughed loudly!
2. They still agreed to partner with us even after my daughter did the above AND Beth jokes about it when she sees me.
3. They provide one family each month with a date night. A night for these couples to get away from cancer and enjoy each other and delicious, farm fresh food.
4. They have offered to bring the meals to the couples' homes if it is too hard to get out.
5. They are flexible when it comes to scheduling.
6. They treat the couples like royalty.
7. They have welcomed us and the families as part of the FoodE family.
8. Their mushroom soup...honestly, it has been almost a year since I ate it and my mouth waters even now thinking about it.
9. Their burgers (this one is for Stephanie, Director of Photography, who is obsessed with the burgers)
10. Their blog
11. That they can put cabbage in eggs and make it one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten.
12. Everything on their menu I have ever tasted. Guess where I am going this weekend?
Thank you, Beth and Joy for all you do for our families! We truly love that you are part of our team!
If you are looking for a place to eat out, try FoodE! 1006 C / D Caroline Street
Fredericksburg, Va 22401