Yesterday, Mary and two of her best friends, Nancy and Kathy, spent the day at the apartment decorating. It was fun! All the pictures were hung, as you can see in the picture. A few things were moved around and by the end of the day, the place looked INCREDIBLE! Kathy and Nancy are two friends who have “stuck” with me since the beginning of this journey and I love them for it. As much as anything, they have had big shoulders and listening ears. They also have donated enough items that when they walked into the apartment, all I heard was “whoa, there’s my (what ever!)” Thanks, girls…you’re the best!!
This morning I had the privilege of attending a meeting of the Atlanta Senior Business Network Forsyth. This is a great group of businesses that meet monthly to network and help each other grow their businesses. I received my invitation from Nancy Votta, the founder of the group, who is fast becoming a very important part of our foundation. I was able to speak to the people in attendance to introduce our foundation, explaining the why of our existence, the what of our existence (providing a bridge to life for transplant patients) and to tell them the very exciting news about our first apartment opening on July 1st. I was received with so much interest and warmth. The connection between the JCEF and the ASBN revolves around our need to furnish our apartments going forward and their ability to provide those furnishing through the generous donation of the seniors that they work with in many capacities. Some were from assisted living residences, from organizations that place seniors when they are ready to downsize, from senior transition teams, and from home care medical staffing organizations. What I heard over and over again is that when seniors chose to, or have to, downsize and move, they struggle with what to do with their household furnishings. Many of them would rather donate them to a worthy cause than to worry about something like an estate sale. And that is where we all can team up to the advantage of our transplant patients and their care givers. Thank you so much to all who expressed so much interest in what we are doing! It was simply amazing!
OK….this might sound like a slight exaggeration, but when you’re in our age group, it’s not! These three movers were our angels yesterday. They came from “All My Sons” movers and they did a fantastic job. They moved fast and carefully. Everything arrived in perfect condition. They assembled the beds for us, which was such a help. And on top of everything, they were just great, personable guys. Thanks to Mr. Love and his crew!!
On Saturday, June 10th, the family (excluding grandpa who was at work) headed down through HORRIBLE Atlanta traffic to Post Briarcliff Apartments to sign the final paper work and pick up the keys to Apartment 1536! What an exciting day! We opened the door to a BEAUTIFUL apartment, all super cleaned (it looked like new) and ready to move into. The little kids had a blast just running around the place (which they call “Uncle Jeff’s Apartment”) and then we all pitched in to carry stuff from our cars into the apartment. Admittedly, there wasn’t a lot, but what it meant to all of us was a BEGINNING and an ACCOMPLISHMENT of 2-1/2 years of hard work.
On Tuesday, June 13th, the movers will meet us at the storage unit to pick up all the furnishings that have been gathered over the last year or more from estate sales, yard sales, consignment shops and junk stores. And then the fun will begin, especially for Mary and her friends, Kathy and Nancy, to put everything in it’s place and decorate, decorate, decorate….heaven!!
We had to cancel the polo match/catered dinner fund raiser, which was to be held on May 21st. It was a HUGE disappointment because so much time and effort had gone into planning it. But at times, when you’re exhausted from trying to figure out the “why,” you get a very fast answer. As it turned out, on May 21st, it was raining “cats and dogs” in the Atlanta area and we would have had to cancel anyway. By canceling early, we were able to recoup almost all of our deposits for the farm, the caterer and the insurance policy. God is in control! He knew the end from the beginning and He worked out the details to our advantage. We are so grateful.
Because of the cancellation, we felt like we came to a “fork in the road.” And that we had to decide exactly where we were going next. Hard decisions had to be made. And this is what we decided. 1) we need to strengthen our Board of Directors. We are so grateful for those who got us started on this journey and we always will be. But we need to now move forward towards finding people for our board that have a connection to the transplant world. 2) our emphasis going forward must be on seeking and getting donations to that we can further accomplish what we have set out to do.
Please go to http://www.jcevansfoundation.org to see details and to buy tickets.
Earlier this week, Bob was invited to be the guest speaker at the McCullough Club, a private men’s club in Atlanta. He took a presentation with him whose purpose was to educate the gentlemen in attendance about transplants and, of course, to explain what the purpose of our foundation is. I got a “review” from our son the next day which was “Dad knocked it out of the park. He was professional, confident, passionate and knew exactly what he was talking about.” Bob is obviously talented in this regard and we hope that he will be able to do a lot of speaking in the future. Can you even imagine how impactful that would be? During the first week in May, he has been invited to speak at the Alpharetta Rotary Club. Very exciting and another step forward for the foundation.
The most incredible “happenstances” come to us almost on a weekly basis and this story is about one of those. As mentioned in the last blog entry, we are having a fund raiser on May 21st that includes a polo match. So one evening, out of the blue, Bob decided he was going up to the outlet mall in Dawsonville to visit the Polo Store. While talking to the manager about the possibility of Polo donating shirts that we could get customized with our foundation’s logo for the polo players to wear at the event, she mentioned “THERE IS SOMEONE YOU HAVE TO MEET.” That person is pictured above…Grant Searcey and his wife Mindy. Grant is a local artist, working out of Dahlonega and HE HAS HAD A HEART TRANSPLANT! We had the absolute privilege to meet with them this week and, without a doubt, they are going to be a big part of our foundation. Grant has lived the transplant patient experience and Mindy has lived the caregiver experience. And when Grant was going through his transplant, his mom had to rent an apartment for them to live in the Los Angeles area to the tune of $1,800.00 a month. So on top of everything else, they know EXACTLY how important what we are doing is. They would have given anything to be able to live in our apartment at no cost to them. We are going to meet again in two weeks to discuss further what their role will be in the foundation.
BTW..NOTHING is “happenstance.” Everything that happens is by design. And stay tuned to see if the shirts are donated to us from the Polo Store. The aforementioned manager, Sonja, is working hard on this!
This event is being called “Big Hats and Mint Juleps”. Imagine the Kentucky Derby. It will be held at Chukkar Farm in Alpharetta, GA, which is also a polo venue. We will begin the festivities with Mint Juleps and Bloody Mary’s. There will be a silent auction held near the bar. Then enjoy the polo match with your drinks and hors d’oeuvres . When the polo match is over, we will have a live auction, followed by supper, prepared by nine of Atlanta’s finest chefs. Beer will be supplied by Cherry Street Brewing Coop, who will brew the beer to match the menus. Tickets will go on sale on March 31st. The cost will be $200.00/person or $1,400.00 for a table for 8. Gather you friends and family for an incredibly fun day and fill up a table.
This fund raiser event is for one purpose… to provide a bridge to life for organ transplant patients, by renting and fully furnishing apartments near Georgia’s three transplant hospitals….Emory, Children’s and Piedmont. These apartments are for their use while living through their transplant experience. The apartments will be provided for them at no cost as a way to minimize the enormous financial burden of an organ transplant.
We are an official 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation, registered with the State of Georgia. All ticket sales and donations are tax-deductible.
Bob and Mary took a tour of the Post Briarcliff apartments this week and we made the decision to rent a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment from them. (It was a model apartment, so these are not pictures of the furniture we will put in.) It is only about one mile from Emory and Children’s and it, unbelievably, has a shuttle to the hospitals. Could that get any better? We think it will be perfect for the transplant patients and their care givers to live in while going through the transplant experience. Almost everything that is needed to furnish it has been either donated or purchased. We plan on moving in on June 1st and welcoming the first guests that the hospital social workers and Georgia Transplant Foundation send to us. It’s hard to express the emotions that rise up around this subject. We have worked hard for two years to get to this point. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been extremely worthwhile. OK….I’ll get dramatic here….it’s the beginning of an enormous dream…enormous!!