Back in January of this year, I resolved to make more happen with my business this year. I was tired of beginning each year with goals that centered on my personal success and was ready to be a part of something bigger and to make my business part of something more meaningful. Already donating a percentage of each booking to CancerCare, I wanted something more active, more engaged…something that would require more than money, but also time and interest and I hoped to find something that could spread the word further than my limited sphere of influence.
And thus Team Cuppa was born!
I’d heard of The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing (you can’t really spend any time in a cancer center in Maine for any reason and not have heard of it!), but I didn’t fully grasp what it was. So I scheduled a meeting with a member of the amazing staff and spent an afternoon touring the facility and talking with the incredible people who work there. I was blown away. On every level.
Not only is it a warm, welcoming, beautiful space that emanates gentle healing energy from every nook and cranny, but it is embracing in every conceivable way. The mission is to support anyone affected by cancer in any way. So patients and survivors, certainly, but also family members, friends, co-workers…anyone affected by cancer in any way. There is reiki and massage. Nutrition classes and yoga. Support groups and counselors. Resource counseling and an extensive lending library. Their program offerings are ever expanding as the Center finds new and innovative ways to extend their integrative services in order to strengthen and heal the cancer community.
And they do it all free of charge.
That is huge. Crazy huge. Out-of-this-world-huge.
I know I shared a bit of my own story with cancer, but I cannot overstate how devastating and overwhelming it is to not only be faced with a life-threatening disease, but how to pay for getting what might save your life. Not just drugs, but care. Real care. Help navigating the complicated decisions and emotions. Identifying what support services are available. Coping with the side effects of a disease that affects more than just the person diagnosed, but their entire community of friends, family, and support…all those people who are caregivers in some way, whether big or small, and side effects that range from nausea to diminished income.
When I announced that Cuppa was going to have a team take part in the Dempsey Center’s largest fundraiser of the year, The Dempsey Challenge, I had no idea if anyone would take part. I had this fear that I would be knocking on doors with a can, begging for donations as the sole member of Team Cuppa. How could I have so underestimated all of you? Not only was I not alone in this endeavor, but the level of support and enthusiasm was just incredible!
Ali & Cesar came down from Canada for the event. Diana & Luigi came up from Manhattan. Kerri & Phil got their families involved. Josee brought her entire family to be the cheering section for everyone! And donations poured in from all of you who couldn’t make it. Former clients. Parents of clients whose weddings I shot years ago. People I’ve never met. We even had a 2014 couple go through the team roster and donate to each person so that every single member of our team would make the participation minimum and be able to take part on race day, donating several hundred dollars in total even though they couldn’t personally make the event.
And with all of that effort and pouring forth of love and support, our team raised more than $5000 total.
That total comes from people choosing to give rather than go out for dinner. To give rather than buying those new shoes or that new purse. To give rather than putting it into their personal travel fund. Or retirement fund. Or wedding fund. There are a million things that we could choose to spend our hard earned dollars on every day, but you guys put $5000 of yours toward the welfare and benefit of others.
You amaze and move me more than you could ever know and I am deeply grateful for every single one of you. Thank you. Thank you.
Justin and I hosted a little bonfire & s’mores Friday evening to kick off the weekend’s events…and I had my first-ever Reese’s peanut butter cup s’mores. Game changer, that one.
Who knew that glow sticks would e such amazing entertainment?!?!
Even Talitha & Josh stopped by, having just returned from their honeymoon in Aruba!!
Saturday morning the run came bright & early, but everyone showed up smiling and ready to rock! I’m sure that it had nothing with the possibility of spotting McDreamy!
Go Team Cuppa!!
Diana even made signs!!
Kerri’s whole family joined the Team!!
Ali & Cesar came down from Ottawa for the event!!
The little girls kept us all laughing and were more than happy to make sure that we didn’t have donuts leftover to go to waste!
So. We set up our tent Friday evening and when we left it, it was alone in the field designated the “team tent” area. When we arrived Saturday morning, it turned out that the “Boot Camp Challenge” (you know, the world’s most gigantic bounce house EVER) had set up directly beside us. Hilarious.
Messages of love and support written on fabric flags were strung across the bridge before the finish.
Ali & Cesar re-enacting the bridge shot from their Ottawa engagement session…so funny!!
With that, Team Cuppa’s inaugural Dempsey Challenge is behind us!! I’m already brainstorming ways to make next year even better…as soon as 2014 team registrations open, Team Cuppa 2014 will be ready!!