UNFORTUNATELY….

tears   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.

BOB’S FIRST SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT

Bob McCullough

 

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.

 

MEETING “THE ARTIST” AND HIS WIFE

Grant & Mindy Searcey 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!

Plans for Chef’s Supper/Polo Match Fund Raiser are rapidly moving along!

kentucky-derby-hatphoto-1chukkar-far

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.

An Apartment Has Been Chosen

post-kitchen    post-living-room

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!!

First Move – From Garage to Storage Unit

the-move

On Saturday, February 18th, we moved all of the apartment furniture and everything else that we have collected to  a storage unit.  Our garage got so full, it was hard to move around.  We hate having to pay a monthly charge for storage, but it has to be done.  A huge THANK YOU goes to our across-the-street neighbors, the Feeney family (all of them….Jeff, Linda, Zachery and Daniel).  We could not have done this without them.   They arrived around 8:00 a.m. and we were done way before noon.  We looked very funny driving out of the neighborhood and over to storage.  Does “Hillbilly Hollow” paint a picture!  The line-up looked like this….SUV/truck/trailer/van/car/car (all loaded with stuff)  On the way over, it started sprinkling, but thankfully everything got moved in before the rain got worse.

Mom…he deserves cashmere

cashmere-2

During the final three days of Jeff’s life, he was at St. Joseph’s Hospital in the ICU.  We realized very quickly that Jeff’s feet were always so cold.  It was, obviously, because his circulation was severely compromised.  We brought socks from home and someone was continuously rubbing his feet, just trying to keep them warm.

At one point, his brother, Brad, turned to his mom and said “mom…he deserves cashmere.”  It was such a touching moment, filled with the love of one brother to another, and it has never left our minds.

So….every transplant patient that lives in one of our apartments will receive a supply of cashmere socks.  We hope it will bring a little comfort and a lot of warmth to these patients.  We hope that it will let them know that we truly do care and that we are always thinking of them.  Seemingly small things often mean the most.  We are hoping so!

THANKS TO AGCO’S EMPLOYEE CLUB

agod

On December 6th, Mary was invited to AGCO Corporation, where she worked for about 20 years.  The occasion was to be presented with a donation from the Employee Club for the Foundation.  We were so pleased to receive a donation of $500.00 and it was presented as a HUGE, BIG check, which one day will hang on the wall of our office!

Way back, when Jeff was first diagnosed, we knew we were going to have to do fund raising.  The AGCO family happily jumped in, hook, line and sinker, to help because they learned to love our Jeffrey (he was a pretty lovable guy!) and they wanted to ease the burden that our family was facing.  Some of those people were there today.  The Evans family will always have a deep connection to AGCO as a company, but even more so, we will always have an incredible love and thankfulness to those who entered our story so many years ago.

Thank you SO MUCH to the members of AGCO’s Employee Club, some who knew Jeff and many more at this point in time who did not.  Your generosity will help to rent apartments and furnish them and will bring comfort and peace to all who will reside there as they live through their transplant experience.

NEW FRIENDS

pastors  On November 9th, Bob and Mary were invited to lunch by four wonderful gentlemen, all pastors….Pastors Enoch Butler, David Trott, Ron James (not in the picture) and Andrew Moore.  As often happens when Bob is working at ACE Hardware, he presents our foundation to people he meets.  One of his customers took an interest in our foundation and passed our information along to Pastor Enoch, who immediately called us, inviting us to meet him for lunch with three of his friends.  It was a most wonderful afternoon.  These men have FULLY grasped our Foundation’s mission and they want to help in any way they can.  We filled them in with information about the Foundation and they each told us their background and how they felt they could get involved.

One thing that the Evans family has known from our start-up is that we want to fully include and welcome very ethic group to our apartments.  If you look at transplant statistics, you will find that out of 100%, 41% are for whites, 35% are for blacks, 16% are for Hispanics and the other 8% is shared by other ethnic groups.  With these men in our circle, we will have the awesome privlege to present our foundation to their bigger circle of friends in the black community.

We finished our lunch that day with this:  “Let’s get back together at a later day and have a brain storming session to see how we can work together.”  We will be scheduling that for early January.  And finally, we ended our lunch with prayer.  We felt like we had been at the feet of God.