Wow it has been quite a while since I have had the time to sit down and send out an update on the foundation. There has been so very much going on I feel like I am always playing catch up but it is a labor of love and gives me purpose and satisfaction knowing we are making a difference in the lives of children battling cancer. This past year was a year of healing, learning and lots of hard work as I am sure 2012 will be as well.
We just completed our first full fiscal year as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit foundation and have raised approximately $85,000.00. Did not quite reach our goal of $100,000.00 but with this economy we will take it. As I have stated before, other than the cost of goods purchased for resale and a small amount spent on operating costs, 100% of funds raised goes directly to the kids and their families. We have no overhead and pay NO salaries! Not to get on a soap box but would like to remind you all, if you make a $100.00 donation to the American Cancer Society/Relay for Life - only .70 cents goes toward childhood cancer.
We have worked directly with 37 families with children battling cancer and sadly, we lost 3 of those precious kids. In the past week or so, I received 3 new applications that we will contact soon. Some of the gifts we have provided have been I-Pads, computers, Kindle Fires, lots of I-tunes cards, portable DVD players, movies, toys, clothes and much more. We have taken meals, goody bags, snacks, care packages and meal gift cards to Scottish Rite on many occasions for ALL inpatient families. For Christmas, with the help of Chick-Fil-A and Chamblee First United Methodist Church, we provided Christmas presents for 16 children battling cancer and a total of 52 family members. Some of these kids received as many as 15 gifts each!! It was quite a crazy busy couple of weeks but well worth the hard work seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces.
We have set some pretty high goals for 2012 that we hope to accomplish. There are approximately 360 newly diagnosed children treated at CHOA each year. Our goal will be to touch the lives of each of these children in 2012. We have helped a few children over at Egleston, but hope to do more at that hospital and start taking the same meals, care packages, goody bags etc. to that hospital as well.
In order to accomplish our goals we have to raise lots of money. We have several events already planned and would love for you to mark your calendar to attend these events.
March 10th – Harlem Legends Basketball Game verses the Amanda Riley All-Stars. This event will be at Brookwood High School. We are looking for help selling tickets to this event, sponsors and members to represent our all-star team.
March 16-17th - Booth at the Georgia Publix Marathon Expo and trade show at the Georgia World Congress Center
March 18th – Georgia Publix Marathon Hydration Station – We will be looking for around 35 volunteers to help with this event.
March 27th – Our second annual O’Charley’s Dine-Out Night
April – We will be working with Chick-Fil-A once again. This time to supply children with Easter baskets
April - Golf Tournament - still in the planning stages
June 9th – 2nd annual Miles-4-Smiles 5K, 10K mile fun run. Hope to get this sanctioned as a Peachtree qualifier.
August 31st - Still in beginning planning stages but hope to have an overnight event called “The Walk” to begin Childhood Cancer Awareness Month which is September. It will be our own Relay for Life but 100% of proceeds will go directly to children.
September – Hope to Paint the Town Gold with Bows and bring awareness to Childhood Cancer.
September – Hope to host our 2nd annual casino cruise.
November 10th – Brookwood High School Arts & Craft Fair
In addition to these events, we have been applying for grants and will continue our fundraising drives with jewelry, foundation items and t-shirts. If you have an idea of how we can raise money, please let us know. We are always open to new ideas.
I will close for now but not before thanking each of you reading this message. We could not accomplish anything without your support.
Have a wonderful day.
We have had many great things going on since our last update that I would like to share with you. We have updated our website and have LOADS of new items for sale such as baseball caps, visors, key chains and much more jewelry so check it out. We also have leftover t-shirts from our Miles-4-Smiles Race for sale. They are $6.00 each. We have all adult sizes except medium. We are posting an update on “our” kids and details of some of the things we are doing for them as well as for all kids and their families while they are in the hospital. Also want to give you and update of upcoming events we have planned.
This is a very long update and I hope you take the time to read it through and then take a moment to realize just how lucky you are to be healthy and to have a healthy family. Our update section is not very pleasant but a reality and the reason for our foundation. I again thank you for your continued support of our family and foundation.
Fundraising Results and Donations
You all know that we just had our first annual Miles-4-Smiles race/walk last weekend and it was a HUGE success. We had approximately 260 runners and raised a little over $12,000.00. It was everything I had hoped for. The weather was great, the park was just beautiful and we had the best pavilion right next to the lake to watch the runners, socialize with friends & family and listen to the soothing music of a spectacular band called GOOD SAM. My favorite part of the day was our balloon release honoring and remembering the kids and their battle with cancer. We had red, sky blue and yellow balloons. Red – to show our love and support of those in the midst of their battle, Blue – to let those that have passed and are in heaven know that we have not forgotten them and the battle they fought and Yellow – For our sweet Amanda to let her know how much we still love and miss her. Yellow was her favorite color and she used to say that yellow is so cheerful that you can’t help but smile when seeing it. I know she was smiling down that day.
Our race could not have been a success without all the wonderful volunteers that came out to help, our generous sponsors, and the help and advice from Chris Carter and Kelly Sowers. I thank you all for your support. We had several runners that participated in our sponsorship drive and want to recognize Aiden Perkins that raised $200.00 and Rhonda Walker that raised $335.00 in sponsorship and won our flat screen TV. Thank you for your hard work for our cause.
Again, I would like to recognize our Miles-4-Smiles sponsors. I will list them once again and ask if you are in the market for anything that these companies sell or service, to please consider them.
Arauco Wood Products - The Atlanta Dream Women’s Pro Basketball Team - A Better Sign - Brookwood Animal Hospital - Bruster’s Ice Cream (Hwy 124) - Business Telephone Systems (B.T.S) - Chick-Fil-A - Concentra Urgent Care - Cousins Properties @ The Ave - Davis Specialty Advertising - I.O. Metro - Kohl’s - Mellow Mushroom (Hwy 78 Going toward Loganville) - Men’s Warehouse - Next Star Communications - O’Charley’s - Peters Path - Quality Awards of Grayson - Road I.D.
Brookwood Girls T & F/XC & Next Star Communications
We were invited to attend the banquet for the girls T&F team but had no idea that we would walk away with checks totaling $1,900.00. We were shock and so thankful for these extremely generous donations. We would like to thank all the wonderful families from the Brookwood Girls T&F and XC Teams for their continued support and their very generous donation of $1,200.00. We also want to thank Coach Moeck for his generous donation of $700.00 from Next Star Communications. Your support and generosity continues to amaze us.
Remembering Amanda T-Shirts
Our April drive to remember Amanda was a success as well. Thank you to all that purchased one. We sold around 150 t-shirts and made a profit of around $1,500.00.
Pope High School Donation
I mentioned several months back that we had the privilege of being the guest of honor at Pope High School’s Pink Out Night for one of their basketball games. We were very pleasantly surprised to receive a check for $1,500.00 in proceeds from that night!! They donated all profits from pink t-shirt sales and the door for the night. They were extremely generous and we cannot thank them enough and look forward to working with them for many years to come. We especially want to thank Coach Courtney and our dear friends Steve, Val and Taylor Schwan for making this night possible for us.
Atlanta Dream – Take the Show on the Road Event
Monday July 11th from 6:30 – 9:00 we will be hosting the Atlanta Dream women’s professional basketball team at Brookwood High School. This event will be held at the Brookwood High School Maroon Gym. 1255 Dogwood Road, Snellville. Come out and meet the entire team up close and personal. There will be an autograph session, Q & A session; raffle of Dream prizes, giveaways, and you will have the opportunity to watch the Atlanta Dream team practice and scrimmage. You may even be picked to participate in a shooting contest or hotshot contest with the players. Tickets are only $15.00 and include a ticket to the Atlanta Dream Game on Sunday, August 7th. Tickets can be purchased through the following link: https://oss.ticketmaster.com/html/go.htmI?l=EN&t=wnbaatlanta&o=253484&g=584 Special Code is: DREAM. There have been some issues with this link so if you would like to purchase tickets, you can also contact Natalie White directly at Natalie.email@example.com
We will have a table to sell items and much more so mark your calendar for July 11th to meet the Dream players and August 7th to go see them in action. This game will be the “Dream Pink” game and they will be highlighting the Amanda Riley Foundation and cancer awareness.
We are still in the planning stages but mark your calendar for Sunday, July 31st for our Gary’s Bistro Night. Come out and listen to the wonderful music from the band GOOD SAM and have a great dinner specially prepared for us by Chef Paul. The location is at the Avenue Web Gin in Snellville. I will forward more details once they are finalized.
All about the Kids
The reason for all the above mentioned events, fundraising and hard work is all about the kids. We have now provided for or are working with a total of 19 children with solid tumor cancers. This past Saturday Steve and I spent most of the day out shopping for the kids. We bought I-Pod’s, Portable DVD players and many DVD’s as well as about $200.00 in I-Tunes cards among other things. We will be mailing these items out this week along with blankets and other items we already have in stock. Yesterday I went back over to Scottish Rite for the first time since Amanda’s passing and took lunch for the Aflac Floor. I also took goody bags full of toys, cards, crayons/coloring books, slinkys etc. for all 20 rooms, care packages for parents having to stay without having toiletries and 20 bags full of goodies for the parents including Chick-Fil-A gift cards. It is so rewarding to be able to help these families and it is only possible because of the generosity of our supporters!
Now updates about the kids:
Braxton – I spoke with Braxton’s mom last week and they are at this moment on a plane to Philadelphia to get treatment. His recent scans were not what they had hoped for; the cancer has spread to his bones. They are going to Philadelphia to meet with a specialist that has founded a new form of treatment. She was very concerned about the cost involved in traveling, having to rent a car since the hospital is 37 miles from the airport, and possibly not having a spot at the Ronald McDonald house upon arrival. I sent her some spending money and told her that we would cover the cost of her hotel if she could not get into the RMH. She needs to concentrate on little Braxton right not and not worry about finances. He is a 7 year old child with stage IV neuroblastoma. He was diagnosed in November 2010 and is currently undergoing chemotherapy, radiation treatments. He loves to hunt, fish, cars including toy story, country music and watching movies.
Kaiden – I spoke with Kaiden’s mom last week and he is doing really well. She said he is a typical little boy and so far scans have continued to come back clear. He is a 16 month old little guy that had rhabdomyosarcoma. It presented in his nose but they caught it very early. He will be getting scans every 3 months in hopes that this horrible disease does not come back. He loves balls, cars and anything boyish.
William – I spoke with William’s mom last week on the day he received his LAST CHEMO TREATMENT! He had scans in May that came back all clear thankfully. She told me a funny story. She said Make-A-Wish foundation has come to them to see what he would like for his wish and he said more watermelon and a baby brother! Funny how 5 year olds think! His mom is hoping for a trip to Disney so we will be sending him Disney movies and a portable DVD player. We will also be sending dinner coupons for mom and dad to get a night out and forget about cancer for a while. William had stage III rhabdomyosaracoma. He was diagnosed in October 2010 and had surgery to remove his tumor on his bottom. He loves Star Wars and Legos.
Rasheeda – I spoke with Rasheeda’s dad last week and he said she is doing just ok. She is in week 27 of 42 weeks of treatment and the tumor appears to be dead but did not shrink as much as they had hoped it would. She is a 10 year old little girl with stage III rhabdomyosarcoma. He asked for her some cards of encouragement and I-Tunes Cards. I would love to send her a bunch of cards as we did for Ansley. If you would like to send her one, please send it to me and I will forward to her. I did not get permission to give out their address so it will be better for me to forward to her. Again her name is e to attend the take the show on the road event with the Atlanta Dream and attend the game. She was diagnosed on November 2010. Her tumor presented in her elbow. She loves all things 10 year old girls love.
Fernando - Is a 12 year old little boy with osteosarcoma. I had the pleasure of speaking directly with Fernando last week and he said he is doing well and that he did not need anything to just help other kids. He has 4 more months to go on treatment and I am currently scratching my brain on what to send to him. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them. Again he is 12.
Tyler – I just spoke with Tyler’s mom and he is doing ok. He will be getting his last chemo treatment next Friday and then the dreaded scans in 3 weeks. She is very concerned about scans since he has not had any since diagnosis and has been complaining about back pain. He is a precious 4 year old little guy that had a Wilms tumor in his kidney that has since been removed. He hates going to the clinic but per his mom, he has gotten a little better about going. He LOVES trains, not Thomas but real trains and they hope to take him to the Locomotive Museum in Kennesaw soon. If anyone has connections there, please let me know. Please pray for this sweet mom for strength until she gets clear scans and for this precious little guy that all will be clear.
Audrey - Please pray for this sweet child and her mother. I just spoke with her mom this morning and unfortunately tomorrow they have to go back in for a second stem cell transplant. She just found out yesterday that she will be entering the hospital isolation for another 30 days with no outside contact! She said last time was horrible and she almost had to be moved to ICU. She said every moment is bad and it is very tough on Audrey’s little body. She is a 5 1/2 year old little girl with stage IV neuroblastoma. Please pray for her mom as she goes through this with her daughter.
India - Is a 17 year old girl with relapsed stage IV rhabdomyosarcoma. I spoke with her mom last Friday and she had just gotten out of the hospital because of having breathing difficulties. Last time I spoke with them she was doing really well but not so much now. She does have stage IV Rhabdo and is receiving her chemo orally. She does not have an I-POD so we will be sending her one and some I-Tunes cards. I am very concerned about her and she could use your prayers!
Kimberly - She is a 3 year old little girl that was diagnosed in February with stage IV rhabdomyosarcoma. She is from an all-Spanish speaking family but I was able to speak with her older sister. She said she is doing ok, just receiving treatments. She loves to draw and loves Dora so we will be sending her some things that she loves.
Eric - Is a 2 1/2 year old little boy that has stage IV rhabdomyosarcoma. He was diagnosed in July 2010 and is currently receiving his last chemo treatment. He had surgery and 99% of his tumor site was removed so hopefully he will have a bright future ahead of him. He loves Spiderman and riding his tricycle.
Ansley – I had the pleasure of speaking with Ansley’s grandmother last week and just received a card from her yesterday. The card has a picture of Ansley on it when she was healthy in her dance outfit. Oh what a beautiful healthy young lady she was. She is still beautiful but healthy not so much. Her grandma told me that she is not doing any better and unfortunately her recent scans show that the tumor in her brain is growing, not shrinking. Her tumor covers the entire right side of her brain and she has no less than 2 seizures a day. Their biggest concern right now is if it continues to grow to the brain stem that it will affect her speech. They are going to start a new treatment plan the end of the month but there is only a 30% chance that it will help, but at least it is something. She has been battling for about 14 months now with no end in sight. She had withdrawn from her friends and spends most of her time at home alone in her room. Please pray for her and her family.
Laura – Laura was the first patient that we helped and one that is very close to our heart. She and Amanda had a lot in common, were about the same age and both loved to run. Laura ran for Etowah High School before being diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. She was declared cancer free about a year ago and enjoyed her first year of college – finally, and earned all A’s! She recently had to go back into surgery to remove a tumor in her lung. Fortunately the pathology report came back that the tumor was DEAD and had probably been for a long time. She has battled cancer 3 times but has WON HER BATTLE! Praise God! We are so happy for her and her family that they can get back to a normal life and Laura can enjoy her college years. No one deserves it more than she does.
New Patients since our last update:
Edith – Edith is an 11 month old little girl with a Wilm’s tumor on her kidneys. She is doing ok and is at home. Per her proud dad, she started crawling 2 days ago. She will continue to receive treatment for 6 more months but her initial scans came back clear which made her dad very happy. We will get a care package out to her soon.
McKenna – Is a 20 month old little girl with hepatoblastoma which means a tumor on the liver. She is in need of a liver transplant but they have seen that the cancer has spread to the muscles so they want to give her a few more chemo treatments before worrying about the liver transplant. She just finished her 3rd round of 6 chemo treatments. Mom says she is doing just “ok”. Mom and dad have their hands full with a 3 year old and another one due in September. We will get a package of Elmo, Barney and Mickey Mouse items out to her this week and some gift cards for mom and dad for dinner on chemo weeks.
Preston – Is a 3 year old little guy with stage III rhabdomyosarcoma. His tumor is in his armpit. I was able to reach his mom the other day while she was at work at Old Time Pottery. She said he is doing ok; he was just diagnosed on 5/31/11 so this is all very new to them. He will be receiving his second round of chemo the end of the month. This is only the beginning for this family so please send up some prayers for strength for them.
Scott – This case hit really close to home. When speaking to his dad, I felt like I was speaking to Steve about Amanda. Scott is an uprising senior and was a 3 sport athlete. He was nationally ranked long snapper in football and was being recruited in baseball for his pitching ability and also played basketball. He was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma last month and may possibly lose both of his legs. He is currently undergoing chemo treatments and will have surgery in 3-4 weeks. He has lost over 30lbs and just had to get a feeding tube. Their world has been turned upside down but dad’s response to my question, what can we do for him? He said – he needs nothing, just someone to talk to, please give to other kids that are suffering. Again, advice if you have any on what we can do for this special young man.
Nick – Nick is a special young man that is a friend of someone that works at Aruaco. That is the company that so kindly sponsored us last summer and gave us a check for over $3,400.00. Nick is a typical 12 year old little boy that had been having headaches so his parents thought he might need glasses. Then he took a bad fall so his parents took him to the ER thinking he had a concussion. Unfortunately test concluded that he did not have a concussion but has 5 tumors in his brain. He was diagnosed back in April and life has been unbelievably horrible since then. He has had swelling in the brain and had to have surgery to relieve the pressure from the fluid. He has lost his ability to speak and has lost most motor skills and has seizures. He takes physical therapy every day and is making some progress but life is so unfair for this precious little 12 year old boy right now. Please pray for him and his family. They live in Thomaston – 4 hours from the hospital so we sent gas cards, meal cards and I-tunes cards to them back in April and will send more soon.
Dustin – Is a new born little guy that is only 2 months old. He has been diagnosed with neuroblastoma. He has started chemo treatments. We will get a little blanket out to him and a care package to his family as they start this horrible battle of cancer with him.
Peyton - Unfortunately, this is my saddest story of all. On June 3rd we lost a sweet little guy named Peyton. He was one month shy of 3 years old. His caringbridge page is peytonmccormick. If you ever need a reality check, just read some of the posts on his Caringbridge that his mom has been writing since his passing. I have said and written the same words and still today live the nightmare that she is living. Please pray for this family as they grieve the loss of their precious little Peyton.
I warned you that the stories are not very pleasant but a reality for these families as it was for ours. I thank you for reading this through and for your prayers for each of these families. I also want to thank you once again for supporting our foundation because we could not do anything without your support and generosity. Providing for and trying to bring smiles to the faces of these 19 kids is my mission in life these days and gives me purpose. I work hard daily trying to raise money so we can continue to help them and the kids to come. I know that is what Amanda would do if she were here. I will sign off for now, but not before thanking you all again for your continued support asking you to live each day to the fullest and don’t sweat the small stuff! Much love to you all and God bless.
March was quite an exciting and exhausting month for the foundation. As of today we have raised a little over $30,000 since September. A large portion of the funds raised this year have been a dollar at a time on jewelry, t-shirt and foundation merchandise sales. It is hard work but well worth it when we are able to help a child who’s days are much more difficult than any of us can fathom. We would like to share a few details about our successful month of March as well as give some details of the upcoming events we have planned.
Publix Georgia Marathon Hydration Station – On March 20th bright and early we had 41 volunteers come out to Decatur to help us at our hydration station and to support our foundation. There was a contest for the best station voted on by the runners and we won the rookie of the year award!! The foundation will be receiving $200.00 for our efforts. Thanks to everyone that came out and showed their support. It was a lot of work but great fun too.
O’Charley’s Dine Out Night – On Tuesday, March 29th we had our first annual O’Charley’s night. The total billing for the night was $5,220.00 and the foundation received 10% of that which was $522.00. No joke … I can’t help but think that Amanda might have had something to do with the amount. We also raised an additional $1731.00 in raffle ticket sales, bake sale items and foundation items. We had 5 volunteers help us out from Kohl’s and we will also be receiving a $500.00 donation from them as well. It was a very special night for me personally because Brittany and several members of my family were able to attend. Thanks to everyone that came out to support us once again. I also want to thank everyone that helped out that night. We had a lot going on but it went very smoothly thanks to our great volunteers. A great success for the foundation and a great night!
Remembering Amanda T-shirt – We are approaching the middle of the month and are busy selling the red remembering Amanda t-shirt. I will attempt to attach a picture of it. Everyone that purchases one will have their name randomly placed on the shirt. The shirts come in all sizes and orders will only be taken throughout the month of April to commensurate the one year anniversary of Amanda’s passing. They are $22.00 and can be ordered on our website under the store tab.
Miles-4-Smiles 5K Race/Walk - We have scheduled our first annual Miles-4-Smiles 5K Run/Walk and 1 mile fun run for June 11th. It will be held at Tribble Mill Park at 9:00. Registration is $25.00 for runners and walkers and $10.00 for fun run. Each runner/walker will receive a free t-shirt and goody bag. We are currently accepting application through Active.com or contact us for an application. The link is http/www.active.com/running/lawrenceville-ga/miles4smiles-2011. Please register today.
We are also offering a SPONSORSHIP CHALLENGE. Anyone getting sponsorship of $100.00 or more gets to run/walk for FREE. The person raising the most $$ through the SPONSORSHIP CHALLENGE WINS a FLAT SCREEN TV. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a Sponsorship Challenge Application.
Atlanta Dream Take the Show on the Road Event – July 11th we will be hosting the Atlanta Dream Professional Women’s Basketball Team for their Take the Show on the Road Event. This event will be held at the Brookwood High School Gym from 6:00-9:00. Come out and meet the entire team up close and personal. There will be an autograph session, Q & A session; raffle of Dream prizes, giveaways, and you will have the opportunity to watch the Atlanta Dream team practice and scrimmage. You may even be picked to participate in a shooting contest or hotshot contest with the players. Tickets are only $15.00 and include a ticket to the Atlanta Dream Game on Sunday, August 7th. This game they will be highlighting the Amanda Riley Foundation and cancer awareness. We will soon have a link to the Atlanta Dream website set up to purchase tickets or you can order them on our website under the store tab. We will have a table to sell items and much more so mark your calendar for August 7th to go see the Atlanta Dream.
We are still working with the same 10 kids as I mentioned before. We have sent initial care packages to each of them and will continue to work with their families to make sure they get the items they are needing/wanting. We are also preparing the care packages to send to the hospital for the families upon arrival. Thanks again to everyone that has made donations to make these packages possible. We have one child in particular that could use prayers today. Little Braxton is 7 years old with osteosarcoma. He had surgery today to have his tumor removed from his kidney. He will be in the hospital for at least a week but we are hoping for a full recovery.
Thanks again to everyone for their continued support. I ask that you please help us spread the word about our foundation and what we are striving to do to help bring smiles to kids battling cancer.
Take care, and God bless you all.
Hello to all,
Wow it has been a while since my last update due to lack of time. We have been extremely busy especially this past weekend. We were given the opportunity to have a booth at the Publix Georgia Marathon Expo and met thousands of wonderful folks and were able to spread the word about our foundation. We also had a hydration station on Sunday morning for the race and had over 40 wonderful folks come out and help us. Thanks to each of you for your help!
We have lots of good things planned for the next few months including an O’Charley’s night this upcoming Tuesday, March 29th and a 5K race/walk called Miles-4-Smiles scheduled for June 11th to name a few. We are also going to have a “Remembering Amanda” month in April since it will be the anniversary of her passing. We have also been very busy getting foundation items for our care packages for the families and are currently helping 10 kids. I will give more details below.
O’Charley’s Night – Tuesday night, March 29th we will have our first annual Dine-Out Night at O’Charley’s in Snellville – Scenic Hwy 124. It will be from 5:00 – 9:00. This dine out night will be different from the others we have had. We have 100% support from the O’Charley’s staff and will be receiving 10% of all tickets – no catch. We will be selling all our foundation products and jewelry items, will have a bake sale of homemade goodies and an hourly raffle of O’Charley’s gift certificates and Ice Cream Cakes from Brusters among other items. Please let me know if you can bake some items for the sale or lend us an hour or so of your time to help us out. We will also have a clown present for entertainment and much more so please come out, have a great meal and support the foundation.
Remembering Amanda Month – As you all know, April was the month of Amanda’s passing and due to that, we will be taking the month off from any events but will have a promotion running the entire month and only through April. We will be selling a t-shirt honoring her memory. It will be red to represent our love for Amanda and will have the number 22 on it. We will be selling the shirts for a $22.00 donation and everyone that orders one, will have their name randomly written on the shirt kind of like “Where’s Waldo”. We hope to have the shirt covered with names to show that Amanda is still loved and will never be forgotten. Shirts can be purchased now on our website under the “store” tab.
Miles-4-Smiles 5K Race/Walk - We have scheduled our first annual Miles-4-Smiles 5K Run/Walk and 1 mile fun run for June 11th . It will be held at Tribble Mill Park at 9:00. Registration is $25.00 for runners and walkers and $10.00 for fun run. Each runner/walker will receive a free t-shirt and goody bag. We are also offering a sponsorship challenge. Anyone getting sponsorship of $100.00 or more gets to run for FREE and the person getting the most sponsorship will receive $100.00 in prizes. We are currently accepting application through Active.com. The link is http://www.active.com/running/lawrenceville-ga/miles4smiles-2011. Please register today. We are also in the process of setting up a website for the race at http://www.miles-4-smiles5k.com/. We will be updating it once we get more details finalized.
Sponsorship of Miles-4-Smiles Race/Walk – We are currently seeking sponsorship of our race. Please visit our website under the Miles-4-Smiles tab for details.
Jewelry / Foundation Items – We have loads of new merchandise for sale including a new t-shirt style, foundation logo items and many new jewelry items so please check them out on our website at http://www.amandarileyfoundation.org/ under the store tab.
Kids we are helping – We are currently helping 10 kids and 5 of them have rhabdo – which is what Amanda had, which is not a good thing since the survival rate is only 30%, so please send up some prayers for each of them. We have details of each child on our website under the link – Patient & Family Support. Please visit the page and let me know if you would like to sponsor a particular child or have ideas or items you would like to send to them. We have sent initial packages to all of them which include a blanket, a desired toy and care items to Mom. We are currently working closely with their parents and will continue to do so.
I will sign off for now but hope to see you all on Tuesday at O’Charley’s. Thanks again to you all for your continued support of us and our foundation. We are working diligently so we can provide for the kids but could not do it without your support. Take care and remember to, hug and love on your children, appreciate your good health and make the most out of every day!
Happy Valentine’s Day to all,
Since my last update we have had a lot going on and I would like to share a little with you all. We have been keeping very busy with the day to day activities of running a foundation and thus far this year we have raised around $5,000.00. On Saturday, we received our paperwork back from the IRS with approval on our 501 (c) (3) application. J This approval gives us the opportunity to seek corporate sponsorships, receive discounts on various items as well as confirms that all donations made to our foundation are 100% tax deductible. This is a huge hurdle behind us and we cannot thank our attorney, Matt Martin and his staff enough for getting this pushed through so quickly.
We have LOTS of new items for sale on our website including tote bags, new cancer awareness jewelry, religious items, and a new t-shirt design that I am very excited about. We also have our old design of t-shirts on clearance so, take a moment and check them out under merchandise on our website.
We don’t have a restaurant event scheduled this month but have been busy all the same. We were at Pope High School on the first for their cancer awareness night. We were invited to speak at half-time about our foundation and our goals. They sold pink t-shirts and had a pink-out game and will be donating the proceeds of their gate and shirts to our foundation. Thanks to our wonderful friends the Schwan’s and everyone at Pope for the invite and for supporting our foundation. Later this month we will spend a day at Dekalb Medical Center in the Neonatal unit. They are having a medical conference and invited us to set up a booth to spread the word about our foundation and hopefully sale some of our merchandise. We will also be meeting with The Atlanta Dream next week and hope to partner with them on an event sometime in the near future.
Our baking parties are taking off and we want to thank those that have hosted them thus far. We have cleared over $1,000.00 from them alone this month. They are simple and little work for the hostess, your guests bring the food and or dessert, and you just supply the place. So if you are considering hosting one or would like more information about them, please let me know.
Next month we will have our O’Charley’s Dine-Out Night on Tuesday, March 29th. We changed the date from the 22nd due to some scheduling conflicts. This should be a great night for us. They are really excited about the opportunity to help us out and will be giving 10% back on all tickets. We will have a bake sale, merchandise for sale and hope to have some extra special items to raffle off so please mark your calendar for March 29th at O’Charley’s on Hwy 124/Scenic Hwy in Snellville.
We have a very special promotion in the works for the month of April called “Remembering Amanda” since that was the month of her passing. We will forward more information in a few weeks once we have ironed out all the details. We are also very excited to host our first annual Miles-4-Smiles 5K race/walk and 1 mile fun run on June 11th. It will be held at Tribble Mill Park and again we will relay more details but wanted you to save that date.
We have been busy ordering and gathering items for the care packages we will so be providing to the families upon entering the hospital. The tote bags should be in any day and I am thrilled with everything we will be able to provide to these families. Thanks to everyone that has donated items to us for these care packages. We will also be providing a bag to all newly diagnosed patients with solid tumor cancers. (Once we are more established, we hope to give to all newly diagnosed families.) The bag will have a monogramed blanket, notepad & pen, Volkswagen bug stress reliever, hand sanitizer & coffee mug to name a few items. All items will be very helpful to the families that spend LONG days at the clinic or hospital. We want to thank Carol Davis at Davis Specialty Advertising so very much for her help with getting these items ordered. If you need any specialty items please check out her website at www.specialtyadvertising.com. She is the best!
We also wanted to give a quick update on the kids we have helped and let you know the status of new kids.
· Laura was the first child we helped back at Thanksgiving. She has been battling cancer for 3+ years and has had 2 relapses. She was experiencing major kidney issues due to the massive amounts of chemo she has received and was about to be put on dialysis when we stepped in to cheer her up. Fortunately her counts came down just enough that they were able to hold off on the dialysis but continue to monitor her closely. Since then she has been declared cancer free and is doing really well. She is finally enrolled in college and experiencing the life she so deserves. We are so very happy for her.
· Our second child Ansley has the brain tumor and is not doing very well. She is having a difficult time with the side-effects of chemo and is experiencing up to 20 seizures a week. She is now homebound due to her declining health and is pretty down and out. Her latest MRI showed that the tumor has not changed even though she continues to receive chemo treatments. Please pray for this sweet girl…she needs one of God’s miracles.
· Our third child, Peyton who also has a brain tumor is doing quite well. From his mom’s Caringbridge updates, he is not letting cancer get him down and this family is making the most out of every day. He just had another MRI but results have not been posted as of yet.
On Friday we received 3 new applications from Scottish Rite. All 3 are little boys and 2 have rhabdomyosarcoma’s – the same that Amanda had. We will give updates on them once we have established a relationship with the families.
We want to thank everyone again for your continued support of our foundation. We could not do this without you all and this little angel that sits on my shoulder telling me to keep going. Much love to you all and God bless.
It has been another eventful couple of weeks and I would like to tell you about some of the exciting things we currently have going on. First I would like to share the story of the latest child and family that we have helped. We have also schedule a few more events, are having baking parties, have some new products on the way for sale and have ordered items for our care packages that I am quite excited about.
First of all, we helped out the family of a little boy currently suffering inoperable brain cancer. He is 2 years old and is the cutest little guy you could ever imagine. He is the son of a friend of a dear friend of mine. The family realized something was wrong back on September 10, 2010 when his left eye crossed and did not return to normal. By September 15th they got the dreaded diagnosis that all parents fear, he had a brain tumor and it was inoperable. The father is in the military and they were in New Mexico but flew out to Atlanta on the first flight they could get so he could be treated at Scottish Rite. He received 30 rounds of radiation and is currently on chemo treatments. His eye is back to normal but they are still in the midst of his battle and that is our goal - to help families during their toughest times, which is what we did. He is scheduled for another MRI soon so please pray for good news for this precious family. His name is Peyton. Being that Dad is in the military; they have since been relocated to Warner Robbins but are commuting back and forth for treatments. This is much better than Afghanistan which is where he was scheduled to be deployed to but he had friends volunteer to go in his place. Please add Peyton and this precious family to your prayer lists.
We are quite excited about the next few events we have scheduled and would like to share details about them. We will be at Pope High School on February 1st, have a “Dine Out Night” at O’Charley’s on March 22nd and have our first annual “Miles for Smiles” event scheduled at Tribble Mill Park on June 11th.
We have been invited to speak at an event on February 1st at Pope High School. It will be at their basketball game where they are bringing awareness to childhood cancer. We are very excited about this opportunity and being able to share our story and bring awareness about our foundation to the wonderful folks in Cobb County.
On March 22 – we will have our first “Dine Out Night” at O’Charley’s on Hwy 24. They are very excited to work with us on this event, and will be giving 10% back to us on ALL tickets for the evening from 5:00 – 9:00. They have also recommended that we have a bake sale outside, a raffle, sell our cancer awareness items etc. She is also going to advertise this event via email to all her email customers and has asked us to put up posters in the restaurant at least a month in advance. She is VERY excited to do this for us and we are extremely grateful to them for this. They only do one event a quarter and we are fortunate enough to have the first quarter. We will be in need of baked items for this event so please let me know if you might be able to help out once we get closer to the date.
Our newest event we have scheduled is the first annual “Miles for Smiles” 5K run, walk and possible dog trot. You walk/run miles to bring smiles to kids battling cancer. It will be held at Tribble Mill Park in Gwinnett County on Saturday, June 11th. We are in the beginning stages of planning this event but will keep you posted with details once we have finalized them but wanted you to mark this date. We will need LOTS of help for this event so please let me know if you are available to help out.
Want to have a party but not be responsible for the food or desserts? Have a Baking Party to benefit the foundation. Your guests bring the desserts or appetizers and pay an entry fee of $25.00. You all vote of your favorite item and the winner gets $100.00. The remainder of the money collected goes to the foundation. This is tax deductible and receipts will be given to all participants. More details are on the website or you may contact me for more information.
We are very excited to soon have more merchandise for sale on the website. We have ordered tote bags with the foundation logo on them, note pads, stress balls in the shape of a convertible bug, coffee mugs and key chains. We also have a few new bracelets styles already available. We will let you all know once the new items arrive. Many of these items will be given to new families upon diagnosis including a blanket for the child. They are all items that essential for a family when making the trips back and forth to the hospital/clinic.
We are still in need of items for our care packages. If anyone has access to toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs/brushes, razors, shaving cream please let me know. We have ordered the bags for these items but need the before mentioned items to complete the bags.
Again, I must thank you all for your support of us and our foundation. Have a great day, take care and God bless.
Update: December 28, 2010
Hello to all,
Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday and will continue to enjoy the remainder of the season. Last week was another eventful one for the foundation and we would like to share some of the wonderful things that occurred for us.
Our week started off with our visit to Arauco Wood Products on Monday. We met some truly great people and cannot thank them enough for their generosity and support of our foundation. We especially want to thank Christie Handley for reaching out to us and recommending our foundation to her management team this year as their charity of choice for the holidays. We were presented with a HUGE check (literally and figuratively) totaling $3,514.00 as well as a huge box of goodies for the children and their families. This company really came together and worked hard to help us out. They sponsored a bake sale, made contributions in order to wear jeans for a week and even donated money to make their manager sing at their Christmas party. They also made individual monetary donations and the company matched all funds collected. They truly are a special group of people and we are so grateful for their support and for the opportunity to get to meet each of them. We will post a few pictures from our visit.
We were also the fortunate recipients of donations from Corestates, Inc. and Corestates Construction Company. The aunt of one of the children that we helped is an employee at Corestates and after telling the story of our foundation and the good we are trying to do, they decided to make donations of $2,000.00 each to us. We are so thankful to both of these companies and cannot wait to share all the good we are able to do with these funds.
The third company we would like to recognize is Duke Realty and Jamie Jones. They made a $500.00 donation to the foundation. We thank Jamie for recommending our foundation and want to thank her family for their support now and during Amanda’s battle. One special gift their youngest daughter, Ansley, made will never be forgotten by us. Last year in May, right after Amanda’s passing, she had a birthday party and instead of receiving presents, she requested money and donated over $500.00 to the American Cancer Society in Amanda’s memory. What a special young lady!
The final company we would like to recognize this week is the Suwanee Network Group. I had the pleasure of meeting this special group of people by attending one of their meetings back in November. They were very kind and gave me floor time to tell my story and all about our foundation and the good we are trying to do. I was a bit overwhelmed upon receiving a phone call that they pulled funds together and would be donating $500.00 to our foundation. Wow!! What a great group of people and we thank them so very much for their generosity and for supporting us.
We are very grateful for the donations we receive from the corporate world but are so very grateful for those received from individuals. We know times are tough for everyone right now and when we receive individual donations, it truly touches our heart and makes us want so badly to do good things with the money to make sure we don’t let anyone down. Every penny counts and we are truly equally thankful for each donation we receive. The most memorable donation we received was for $5.00 and I cannot thank that person enough for it. We want to spend your money as wisely as we can and please know we are quite stingy with it. It is hard for us and you to come by these days. We proudly have listed the names of every donor on our website.
Our initial goal was to raise funds of $10,000.00 by the end of the year. We are very pleased to announce that we have doubled that goal and have as of today raised $20,282.00. We cannot thank everyone enough for their generosity and for supporting our foundation and ask that you all continue to do so. We have lots of kids to help and we know this money will go quickly once we get started. We currently have about 50 kids in treatment for solid tumor cancers and will be getting around 5 more each month and this is only at Scottish Rite. We want to help all of them and then start helping kids at Egleston and kids with other types of cancer. So, please continue to spread the word about our foundation. You would be amazed about some of the doors that have opened just through word of mouth. It is not all about money, sometimes it is about who you know and what they might be able to do for us.
We have lots of plans for the New Year and will be sharing them with you all once we get dates set and have ironed out the details. For now, starting in January, Chili’s on 78 will be sponsoring our foundation on Mondays. So please if you are heading out to dinner on a Monday, please consider going to Chili’s on 78 and get a good meal and help the foundation at the same time.
We also have lots of great items for sale to help you show awareness to cancer and to support our foundation. We currently have new jewelry items including earrings, necklaces, key chains and a new stretch bracelet. We also have t-shirts and sweatshirts for sale with the foundation logo on them. So, check them out on our merchandise page.
We also want to give a special thanks to Peters Path at the Avenue at Webb Gin House for sponsoring us and for selling items for us. So, if you are at the Avenue, please visit their store. They have some really nice things that I am sure you all would love including our bracelets and Vera Bradley merchandise.
We would like to thank each of you again for your support of us and our foundation. We will keep you posted with all the new exciting things going on as they happen. Have a great day, Happy New Year and God bless.
Update: December 19, 2010
Wow what an amazing week the foundation had. We had some incredible things happen that I would like to share including our very successful night at Frontera, our donations we received from AVON, our new products and our incredible generous donations we received and about the exciting day we have in store for us tomorrow. We would also like to share our plan for the New Year relating to giving to the precious kids battling cancer.
Our Tuesday night event at Frontera was a huge success and we thank everyone so very much that came out to support us. We raised more than $1000.00 in raffle ticket, silent auction and merchandise sales. Frontera sales for the night exceeded $2000.00 and we will also be receiving a percentage of that as well. Our promotion continues throughout the month of December, every Monday and Tuesday so if you are in the mood for Mexican food, please visit Frontera on Five Forks. Just remember to please write AMANDA RILEY on your bill.
We also received word from AVON that they were willing to donate items for our care packages to benefit up to 150 families. We were amazed when they said for us to come in a large vehicle to make sure we had room for all the boxes. We did just that and received an incredible amount of products that will be so helpful to and appreciated by our families upon entering the hospital We can’t wait to get the care packages together. We still have a few items we need to collect before we can complete them. We are also in the process of finalizing the ordering of our bags for these items to be put in and hope by February first to have them ready for distribution.
We have lots of new products for sale on our website including short sleeve t-shirts, long sleeve t-shirts, sweatshirts, new style of bracelets, cancer ribbon earrings and necklaces as well as the original bracelets and key chains. So take a moment to check them out on our merchandise page. All items are in stock and will be available for Christmas.
We received some very generous monetary donations this week and cannot thank each one of you enough for your generosity and for supporting our foundation. Every dollar is appreciated, regardless of the amount and we promise it will all go to help put a smile on these precious kids battling cancer.
Tomorrow will be an extra special day for Steve and I as we get to meet the wonderful folks at Arauco Wood Products. Back in October we received a phone call from them stating they wanted to sponsor our foundation for Christmas. They have worked very hard holding bake sales, collecting toys and even had an event where the department that collected the most money, their manager had to sing at their Christmas party. Sounds like a wonderful group of people and we can’t wait to go meet them tomorrow. Will post next time about our visit and I am sure it will be a touching memorable one.
We have finalized our application to CHOA for the newly diagnosed families to complete so we can give to their children. We will initially be giving to children with solid tumor cancer which included rhabdomyosarcoma – which is what Amanda had. There are about 50 kids in treatment right now for this type of cancer and they get about 5 new kids diagnosed each month. We are starting out with this specialty so one kid will not get upset if another gets something and they don’t. They can explain that this foundation is specifically for solid tumor kids, not say for example blood disorder, leukemia etc. Unfortunately, we are not successful enough yet to take care of ALL kids, but hope to be able to soon. We will concentrate our efforts at Scottish Rite initially and move over to Egleston once we have the resources to do so. We have been working so hard trying to raise money, we are now eager to give to these kids. We will certainly keep you all posted with updates of how YOUR support has helped these precious kids.
I know this will be a very busy week for you all and lots of good family time. Please take a moment to sit back and realize how very blessed you are to have a happy healthy family and let them all know how very much they mean to you. This will be a trying time for us but with the support of our wonderful friends and family we will manage through. Also, I know my sweet Amanda is looking over my shoulder all the time and giving me strength and courage. Please all have a safe and happy holiday season. Much love to you all and God bless.
December 13, 2010
Happy Holidays to all,
First of all we would like to thank you for following Amanda’s story and for supporting her throughout her battle with cancer. We have added this new page to the website to keep everyone updated on the latest happenings of our foundation.
We started our foundation on September 20th and have made great strides since then. We have filed for 501 ( c ) (3) status and per our attorney, all paperwork is in order and we should have our IRS approval number any day now. In the meantime, per IRS regulations, all donations are 100% tax deductible.
We have been working diligently seeking corporate sponsorships and donations and currently have the following fundraisers in place.
For the month of December, our fundraiser is with Frontera on Five Forks. If you visit Frontera on any Monday or Tuesday in December, they will donate 15% of all proceeds back to the foundation. The only catch is that you MUST WRITE AMANDA RILEY on your bill.
Foundation Event: On Tuesday, December 14th we will have a foundation event at Frontera from 5:00 – 9:00 and will receive 15% of all proceeds.
50/50 Raffle: We will be selling foundation merchandise and will be having a 50/50 raffle on the 14th at our event at Frontera. Raffle tickets are $2.00 each or 3 for $5.00. At 8:00, we will have a drawing and the winner will receive 50% of all proceeds received (CASH) through the raffle ticket sales.
Silent Auction: We will be having a silent auction at this event as well. The following items will be auctioned off:
UGA Football helmet autographed by Mark Richt – Opening Bid $50.00
UGA Football autographed by Mark Richt – Opening Bid $50.00
Atlanta Dream basketball autographed by Angel McCaughtry & Dream T-shirts/ Autographed Pictures Opening Bid $40.00
Heart Shaped Diamond Ring that retails for $300.00, opening bid $75.00
Merchandise for Sale:
We have foundation t-shirts for sale. Short sleeve $10.00, long sleeve $15.00 and sweatshirts $20.00. They are white and have our foundation logo (below) on them.
We have “Amanda” sterling silver cancer awareness bangle bracelets as well as key chains that state “Together we can make a difference” All items are $10.00 each.
We would like to share a little information about the first two children that we have had the opportunity to help.
Our first child is a teenage girl that has been battling cancer for 3 years and has had two relapses. Thankfully she was declared cancer free a few months ago but has been dealing with the adverse side effects of receiving so much chemotherapy. She is having issues with her kidneys not functioning as they should and she was told she would have to go on dialysis. Just when life was finally getting back to normal for her, a new problem arose that she and her family now have to deal with. She was in the hospital the week of Thanksgiving and had to have surgery to insert a device to receive her dialysis treatments. She came home for a few days only to have to go back the following week. Her mom said she was really in the dumps and that is when we stepped in to help her. She has been through so much and we wanted to do whatever we could to put a smile on her face. The day before Thanksgiving, as she was stuck in the hospital feeling down thinking she would be there for another week or so, we stepped in and sent her a care package full of goodies for her and her family. Her mom said we did help lift her spirits a little and put a smile on her face. We accomplished our goal! Fortunately, since then she has received fantastic news that her kidneys have improved and that she will not need dialysis! Praise God!! This precious child has been through enough. I am just so happy to have been able to help her during some of her darkest hours.
The second child is truly in the midst of her battle. She is a precious 12 year old girl that has cancer in the brain with an inoperable brain tumor. She has been receiving chemo treatments but current CT scans show no change in the tumor size – the chemo is not working. She has started having seizures due to the tumor and they are now just praying for a miracle. She was a dancer but has had to stop dancing but she much like Amanda was, is driven and very determined not to give in to cancer. She is still trying to attend school and live her life as normal as possible between treatments. We sent her just this past week a package of goodies for her and her family in hopes of making this Christmas an extra special one for them.
Our foundation is working and I just thank God for leading me to do this and to be able to honor my sweet girl. I rely on Him each day for strength and the courage to carry on. I also know Amanda is watching over me because I could not do this without her help. I again thank you all for your support of Amanda, our family and now this foundation.
Take care and God bless.