The short answer, it seems, is "rich people." And it's a reminder that when we raise far less money seemingly doing far more work, we need to realize it's no less important to the bottom line. Even if, empirically, it is.
On Wednesday night we were in Calgary for the latest in what has seemed like a tour's worth of speaking engagements. Not a bad thing, just something that's happened as organizations we're involved with realize we're happy to share Dominic's story in hopes it'll help their causes.
This was the Children's Wish Foundation Gala. Our experience with them previously came at the end of Dom's life, as they moved (figurative) mountains to get us to Florida last year, only to have him die during the trip.
We've said often that it was as though he took us to the happiest place on Earth to be together as a family one last time. And here we got to tell that story to a group of mostly businesspeople with ties to some big companies.
It was a fantastic event. We saw trip co-ordinator Sarah Bragg for the first time since she gave us our backpacks and T-shirts last August, and area director Kyla Martin for the first time ever. They were both instrumental in making the wish happen.
The 400-seat event was beautiful, featuring displays of the sort of trips kids go on, a silent auction, dinner and a handful of interviews with wish trip families.
The real stars were the kids: Aboudi and Mable, in particular. You probably know of Mable - she of Spider-Mable fame after saving Andrew Ference of the Edmonton Oilers from the evil Mysterio last year (http://globalnews.ca/news/2243358/spidermable-to-the-rescue-elaborate-plan-underway-to-grant-wish-of-young-edmonton-girl). Aboudi's wish trip was a Disney cruise, and we got the pleasure of sitting with his family for dinner. They helped broadcasting personality Dave Kelly host and were simply wonderful. So much energy.
But there were some sombre moments too. We were caught by one of the displays - a video of Diamond meeting Prince William and Princess Kate a few years ago. Diamond passed away while Dom was in hospital, and we knew her parents.
And suddenly, there they were, at the event. They're doing well, which was great to see. Nobody can relate to what we've been through like other families in the same boat, so while sad it's nice to talk with them once in a while.
It took all of two hours for that event to raise more than $60,000. They haven't announced a total but there was a live total on a big screen at the event that kept jumping by ridiculous amounts and the last time I checked it was $58,600 - long before some vice-president at Shaw Communications threw in $5,000 on a whim. I'm sure that total is far lower than what they actually raised.
And to think, an average wish trip costs about $10,000. And they've got 151 of them in the queue for the next year.
I think the summer will be slower as far as speaking engagements go, which is probably a good thing. We love doing it but it'll be nice to relax for a while - and focus on our own fundraising.
A batch of #Dominicstrong T-shirts were mailed out last week, and we raised almost $1,000 for Helping Families Handle Cancer through them all. Hardly the kind of dough the Gala raised, but we know it goes to an important place. Any charity will tell you every cent matters.
I should also note a couple fun developments regarding my involvement with Extra Life, the gaming charity that I raise money for the Alberta Children's Hospital through. I'm now a volunteer moderator for their community forums (http://community.extra-life.org/forums) and will live-stream games every Sunday night from 7-9 Mountain time on their Twitch channel (https://www.twitch.tv/extralife4kids). It's all about raising awareness about how easy and fun it can be to help out your local children's hospital! If you want to know more, there's an Extra Life page right on this blog with plenty of links and information. Would love to have more people join Team #Dominicstrong this year.