So... the story goes:
We were having a family meeting about what to do for Christmas in terms of helping another family. My daughter said "We should do a fundraiser and we can give away the money." All 3 of the kids (ages 9, 13, 14) began talking over each other with ideas. My middle son AJ(13) said "We already have enough stuff, we really don't need more." Kennadie (14) agreed, and said "Dad...you should try doing the Festive500 in 1 day as the fundraiser." (The Festive500, is an annual challenge to complete a total of 500km / 310 miles between an 8 day period. After completing this in 7 days last year, Kennadie began teasing me throughout the year by saying "betcha can't do it in 1 day dad.").
Then Danny (9) started crying. I thought well maybe he realized that he was saying that he didn't want any presents for Christmas. But instead he said "I am crying because I am happy. I think it's so cool that we can help other people and it makes me so happy inside that I don't even need more toys."
At this point, my wife and I had to pick our jaws up off the floor. We could not believe what we were hearing and were in shock. This is when we made the decision as a family to do everything in our power to raise as much money as possible for a charity and also some families in need. We decided that we would pick a local charity that is in need as well as 3 families. 2 of the 3 families will be decided through email submissions (so PLEASE send in submissions to [email redacted])
Please help us out in this fundraiser, many hands make light work and you too can help spread some Hope & Joy this Holiday season.
What, When, & Where:
What: Cycling 310 Miles in <24hrs for the "WHOs" listed below
When: December 24, 2018 12:00am - December 24, 2018 11:59pm
Where: From Pine Island Park - Weeki Wachee, FL, to Cocoa Beach, FL & back again. (although SAG is not provided for other riders, anyone is more than welcome to ride along for any distance they choose.)
Group 1: Pasco County Domestic Violence Shelter
For the first group, I will have to tell a story that I have only ever told to those very close to me.
This story goes back to me being 2 years old and one of my earliest memories. Unfortunately, it is not a good one. My dad, whom I LOVED unconditionally, and would later become one of my best friends before passing away in 2013, was an alcoholic. He was not a happy drunk. The memory I speak of was of my dad choking my mother in their bedroom. I ran to the other end of the house, and grabbed my toy hammer, then went back to save my mom. I was hitting my dad on the leg, telling him to stop hurting mommy. Unbelievably, he stopped. He stopped just long enough for her to regain consciousness, grab my baby sister, and run out of the house. She didn't have time to get me too, her last words to me as she left the house were "Jeff, RUN!"
My dad never hurt me. So although he was angry, he did not direct that towards me. As I mentioned, he and I would become best buds throughout life, which in and of itself is a miracle.
My mom was able to eventually come and get me. This is when we left my dad's house and went to a domestic violence shelter. This shelter kept us safe and allowed my mom to get out of a very hostile environment. If it was not for a place like this, I can't even imagine where my sister and I may have ended up. Most likely, we would have been put into the foster care system.
This brings us back to why I am starting this GoFundMe to being with. There is a domestic violence shelter here in Pasco County, FL that needs help with funding. The need is great, for printed material, computers, and operational costs. 50% of the funds raised will go directly to this shelter to help the women that are there.
Family 1: Florence "Alida" Casey
Alida has gone through a lot in her very early years of life. She was recently diagnosed with Mycobacterium Avium Complex (MAC) and began monthly appointments with an Infectious Disease Specialist at All Children’s Hospital; appointments that will continue for at least another year. Under medication therapy for MAC, Alida’s health and breathing have improved- but as her parents researched MAC, and with the help of a friend, got in touch with the Non-tuberculous Mycobacteria Foundation (NTMir), they realized that the fight for Alida’s health is not over. There are still many questions that need to be answered in regards to Alida’s rare illness, if she will fully recover and her future health. Since MAC is extremely rare, especially in a baby, there are many more answers that are needed to ensure that she is on the path to health and a full recovery.
Although through another GoFundMe that the family posted, funds were raised to help transport Alida to Denver Colorado to see a specialist that is known for their expertise with MAC, the bills have continued to flow in. Even with medical insurance, the Casey family is bearing a very heavy burden.
I have personally watched this family take this in stride and not make a big deal about it. I would love to give them some breathing room and lighten their burden, but I cannot do this alone.
Family 2 & 3: To Be Determined
I do not yet have a second family. I am searching for a family that needs some special help beyond just Christmas gifts. I am accepting "essays" for anyone that might have a family that can use a little bit of extra joy this Christmas season. They can be emailed to [email redacted]. My family and I will read these and make a decision on whom to donate to. If you wish to remain anonymous please state that in the letter.
So now that you know the Who, I want to share with you the "How" these funds will be shared. I am hopeful that together, we can exceed this goal of $10,000.
The recipients of the funds of this fundraiser will be:
$5,000 or 50% Salvation Army - Domestic Violence Shelter
$2,500 or 25% Family 1 - Florence Casey
$1,250 or 12.5% Family 2 - Will be chosen from submissions and announced on Christmas Day
$1,000 or 10% Family 3 - Will also be chosen from submissions and announced on Christmas Day
$250(MAX) or 2.5% - Event cost. If goal is exceeded, the additional funds will be split across recipients 1-4.
Although I could write a book on the many reasons why, I think I can sum this up in one word for my entire family: Compassion.
Since my wife and children share this passion for helping others, we decided that as a family we would work as a team to complete this very difficult challenge of crossing Florida 2x on a bicycle as a fundraiser.
Many hands make light work. Please consider helping, every $1 makes a difference
You can follow our progress at the links below:
The Burow Family: Jeff, Nicki, Kennadie, Allen, & Daniel