The Ripple Effect following my second blogpost, Leading with Courage…

The following year, I recruited a team of five friends to organize a St. Baldrick’s event in Oklahoma City. In the initial planning, the excitement and the following questions ensued, “How big do we want the event to be? What families in the area can we invite to tell their stories? Which children should we highlight? Does anyone know any celebrities with Oklahoma ties? What about local musical talent?” 

Chesapeake Energy reached out to me and asked if we could talk about partnering. Two of us met with Chesapeake Energy and the gentleman said, “We want this to be the biggest party in Oklahoma City! Our boss lost his son to children’s cancer, so this is very personal for him and all of us.” 

“What do you have in mind?” I asked. 

“We want to give you some money up front for the event to use as you see fit. If you need to buy food, reserve tents, pay for talent, use this money.” 

“Okay, we can do this, and we will present you all with some ideas we have for the event,” I said. 

Six short weeks later, we had over 100 shavees signed up, local musical talent that filled eight hours, a dog show and other activities to entertain children and their families, a grill station set up by a local restaurant, and a tent full of silent auction items! Local celebrity Matt Hoffman, a professional BMX rider, was secured for the event because of his connection to a local child fighting cancer. 

I remember thinking the morning of the event, I sure hope we have created enough of a buzz for people to come out with it being so cold and rainy outside. I hope we did not make a mistake having the event outside. I knew we had done all we could in such a short amount of time. The five of us were so grateful to Chesapeake Energy for their partnership, as well as local businesses that came out in droves showing support. We were also grateful to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation CEO and Staff for reaching out to show their support. 

I was asked numerous times, “Do you have any children? Why do you feel so passionate about being part of the St. Baldrick’s events?” 

“It is not necessary for me to have my own children to feel the pain these families experience,” I said. “I am not able to put myself directly in their shoes, nor fully understand the agony of losing a child,” I said. 

“I feel a family’s pain and suffering through the emotion in their personal stories. I can be here to provide support and honor their children by paying it forward,” I said. 

We raised almost $100,000 through in-kind, online, and in-person donations in a 6-week timeframe!  Out of the 100+ shavees, over half were women! 

At the conclusion of the event, I remember my team and I exchanging some thoughts. “Wow!! That was incredible!” I said.

“Can you believe all the people that came out to show support?” Za said. 

“How much money do you think was raised?” Tracy said. 

We were so proud of what we had accomplished and the support we received from Oklahoma City.  

To hear more, read Blog post 4, Emily and Paige…