This has been an incredibly long week. We were recently selected as a finalist for the Ryan Sheckler “Be The Change Award.” This award is given in the form of a 10,000 grant to the winner. I sit down everyday and just imagine all the children and families I could help with that amount of money. I can make sure I go to every hospital on Long Island and hold pizza parties for the kids. That would allow us to start our program in loving memory of our Superstar Jake who passed away earlier this month. Jake was an amazing little boy, I fell in love with his spirit and bravery. I promised myself I would do something in his honor. I will do everything and anything to make it happen because Jake deserved the world just like every other kid battling an illness. These children fight so hard every day just to be normal, and sometimes just to be alive. The least I can do is try to bring a smile to their face, and help them for a brief moment forget about their illnesses. We just got these super cool t-shirt for our Superstars that we will be giving out at our family fun day on August 26th. They say “I am an AWF Superstar and I am stronger than my diagnosis.” I can’t wait to give them to the kids and watch them smile as they put it on. I know something as simple as a t-shirt will bring a smile and empower them to continue to be brave. These shirts will most importantly make them feel special. I can’t explain the feeling of delivering a care package, a gift, or even just visiting a Superstar Child and their family. It is the greatest feeling in the entire world when their face lights up despite the overwhelming obstacles they are facing for that moment they are happy. For that moment they are all smiles. Although I cannot explain to you what its like just close your eyes and picture for a moment. Walking into a house, hospital room, a treatment center, where a child is fighting so very hard and you come in with a huge basket of toys. The next moment that child is laughing, and smiling, they may of just sat up for the first time in a week. You bring pizza and the child has agreed to eat for the first time in days. These are the moments that continue to motivate us. That push up to keep fighting for our foundation for these children. Sometimes, you help the parents more than anyone. I can’t imagine how hard it is for a parent to watch their child endure so much but I do watch the sense of relief and happiness that overcomes them when we come visit their child.
I can’t imagine for a moment having to turn away a family or a child from being in our Superstar program. But there are days where my team and I are struggling to find ways to fundraise and collect toys. I am proud to say that I have the greatest team and I am lucky to work along side them. I have been blessed to find people who want this just as much as I do and who care so very much about these children and their families. I have seen the amazing generosity and kindness of complete strangers stepping forward to help whether its making a basket, donating a toy, a baked good, or simply helping to spread the word about our foundation. I have watched children get involved and want to help other children by holding lemonade stands, veggie stands, or donating their own toys. It is inspiring.
This grant would allow us to bring smiles to the bravest of lives. It would mean everything to me, my team, and all of my Superstar families if you could rally your friends, and co-workers to keep voting for us so we can continue to bring joy to the children who deserve it most.