Today I am so proud to share with you guys the story about the first annual Gathering for Good; raising funds for children’s pediatric cancer research at Cleveland Clinic Children’s.
A few months ago my dear friend Meg Nowlin invited me and my other friend Kim Crane for coffee. I showed up a few minutes late and in my gym clothes and was welcomed by a table full of executives from the Cleveland Clinic…I was in shock. Had I somehow missed that this meeting was a business affair on the text invite? Nope. Meg actually forgot to let Kim and I know we were meeting to brainstorm a new type of fundraising for “Children’s” all together. After the initial shock of yoga pants in professional mode (Kim showed up casual too!) we all jumped at the opportunity to get on board and help in whatever manner Meg and the development team needed us for.
My friend Meg and her family have been so impacted by the work at the clinic, we all knew it was so important. The oldest of the Nowlin family, seven-year-old Maisie is exceptionally inquisitive, bubbly and caring. As the oldest of five children, she is the center of the Nowlin family. Shortly after Maisie’s sixth birthday, her world was turned upside down. Maisie received the diagnosis of a rare bone marrow failure disease called Very Severe Aplastic Anemia (VSAA).
VSAA is a life threatening illness affecting the bone marrow’s ability to produce blood cells and requires serious medical intervention and treatments. In September 2015, it was determined that none of Maisie’s four siblings were a bone marrow match, so in October of 2015 Maisie had to undergo immunosuppressive therapy treatment. Unfortunately, the treatment was ultimately deemed a failure, so the next hope for Maisie was to find a bone marrow donor. In early 2016, Maisie received what her family calls a “miracle”– a match had been found. Maisie underwent a bone marrow transplant, but experienced rare complications that left her requiring more platelet and blood transfusions, and in a hospital bed for weeks to months on end.
We are thrilled to report that today, because of research and experimental opportunities Maisie is attending school and loves hanging out with her friends and family just like any other healthy kid.
I’ve known Meg and Kim for over 12 years and I am honored and humbled to have co-chaired this years Gathering for Good event along with them. It took us about five months from an idea to one of the best summer soirée events I have ever attended. Oh, and did I mention we raised around 40K for pediatric cancer research initiatives? To say we were proud is an understatement.
The weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky or even a touch of wind. We had the most beautiful clear tent, stunning vintage furnishings and delicious food and drinks. A steel drum, music man welcomed everyone to the party and then another talented musician took over half way for a variety of party tunes. There was a silent auction filled with unique CLE experiences of everything from a birthday party at Mitchell’s to a Flats East Bank, rooftop cocktail party for 40 guests.
There are so many people to thank for helping us make the event a huge success but I will give it a shot. Thanks to Meg for coming to Kim and I to help with her vision. Kim & Ryan thank you for hosting the event at your lovely home. Thank you to my creative team at studio Chartreuse for developing such playful and fun creative to support the event. Thanks to Laura for all the behind the scenes work, we know those cookie bags were no joke! Thanks to Ruth and Ann for their party planning expertise, we don’t know what we would have done without you. And for all the attendees who believed in us and the cause, we couldn’t have pulled off such a successful fundraiser without you. Thank you for showing up and bidding on the evenings auction items.
If you weren’t able to attend this annual fundraiser but would still like to make a donation to our cause, please donate here. We are hopeful we will do this event next year so keep an eye out next summer!
Last but not least, to Mother Nature for providing us the most gorgeous evening to celebrate raising funds to support new opportunities for pediatric cancer research at Cleveland Clinic Children’s. (Thank you for the gorgeous photography K. Ardner!)