March 15, 2013
Last weekend was the annual Fundraising Gala for The ALS Association, Oregon and SW Washington Chapter and so when they asked me to make some cookies for the silent auction I said “No!” Oh wait. That was in a freakish alternative universe. Here, on this planet, in this reality, I said “Ya sure you betcha!”
And no, that’s not Chariing. It’s Charting. It just appears my attention wandered before I finished the little hanging tags at each end of the T. Talk about a short attention span.
I divided the four dozen cookies I made into two sets and off I went to Oregon.
But I didn’t go traipsing off to the Gala with my cookies alone because some of my wonderful cookie friends, who crossed the line along time ago from cookie friends to friend friends, offered to make cookies for the auction too. Now, how awesome would it be for my fragile little ego to tell you each of these beautiful women took the time to decorate cookies and at their own expense ship them across country just because they love me? But as it turns out, I just happen to have fallen in with a generous crowd of good-hearted and compassionate women. That’s just how they roll. Okay, and they love me. At least that’s what they say to my face but if you hear any different I expect you to report back to me.
After opening the stack of shipping boxes filled with THE most adorable slash beautiful slash creative cookies EVER and displaying them in fun packaging I found around town, it was time to drive over to the event site.
That was one of the most cautious drives of my entire life. No speed limits broken. No tailgating. No hurrying through yellow lights. No flying over speed bumps. Now that I think about it I should probably drive with cookies in the back seat more often.
With the help of my sister Barb the cookies were transported into the convention center and I’m happy to report that not so much as a single cookie ended up missing. I’m not saying I was concerned about that happening with my sister in charge. Not that, oh say, she would claim one had accidentally been broken, damaged, or mysteriously lost in the 100 yard commute between the car and the convention center door. And any doubts I might have had were immediately dispelled when upon close examination of her cookie-crumb free face.
Why do I feel as though I’ve been watching too many episodes of CSI New York, Miami, Las Vegas, Cleveland, Portsmith, Anchorage?
It was a personal blast watching people’s reactions to all the cookies during the silent auction. People would point. People would smile. People would ooh and aah and then sign their bid on the bid sheet.
Once the silent auction closed we all paraded into the banquet room where dinner and and the hold your cards up in the air auction was held. One of the traditions at the ALS Gala is the Dessert Frenzy when gourmet desserts from local bakeries and restaurants are auctioned off so that the winning bidder can share it with their table during the evening. It was quite a thrill for me that the two boxes of cookies I’d made for the event were among those desserts. At the same time I was more than a little anxious that the auctioneer would open up the floor for bidding and the room would go silent. Crickets.
But because of the generosity of the evening’s guests, fueled by the addictive nature of sugar, the bidding opened at 100 dollars and climbed to 5oo dollars before my sister and brother entered to engage in a family bidding war. I’d like to say this has never happened before and that there’s a total absence of competition among my siblings but that would be a lie and I could never lie to you.
For the sake of historical accuracy, my sister proved victorious though my brother put up a valiant and noble effort.
When it came time for the second box of cookies, the auctioneer asked that instead of having one person win the entire set, that all those who wanted to give the cookies as a thank you gift to the evening’s volunteers bid 25 dollars each. And were there any takers?
Ya sure you betcha!
It really was a fantastic night and while I still don’t know the total amount of money raised for the ALS Association, I know that however much was raised will go toward making a real difference in the lives of those living with ALS. It will be used to provide much needed medical equipment, resources, and support. It will continue to fund the small but dedicated staff of the local chapter of the ALS Association. And it will provide financial backing for ongoing ALS research so that one day our annual ALS Gala will be transformed into a grand celebration of a disease that has finally been defeated! THAT is a party I don’t plan to miss!
My brother was only alive to attend the Gala in 2010 and 2011. That’s how fast ALS can progress. It is a hideous disease. It doesn’t simply end the life of those it attacks but slowly or quickly it robs them of their ability to do everything that you and I will do today without so much as a thought that we’re doing it. Climbing out of bed, brushing our teeth, eating our breakfast, driving a car, holding our children, answering the phone, scratching our nose, holding up our neck, turning our head, hugging our spouse, taking a deep breath. It is a cruel disease. Everyone who has been touched by ALS will tell you so. It is cruel. It is relentless.
But while ALS is classified as a terminal illness so too is its fate terminal. The day will come when ALS will be relegated to that of a chronic disease. Viable treatments for extending the quality and quantity of life following an ALS diagnosis will be available. Medications or surgical procedures will stop the progression of ALS in its tracks before it’s allowed to compromise the neurological system. There will be a day when people with ALS will die from old age, and a day when ALS will no longer be a present reality but a distant memory.
The unimaginable will one day happen. Pigs don’t sprout wings and fly but enough balloons tied around their stout little waist and eventually all four hooves will leave the ground and that old porker will be air borne.
This pig will fly. ALS will be cured.
All we need to do is keep adding on more balloons. My balloons. Your balloons.
It’s going to happen and it’s going to happen in time to save someone else’s brother.
One day another Randy will live because of the total sum of our balloons.
Below are the balloons my dear friends contributed to the future hope of an airborne pig and I could not love them more for floating them in the direction of the ALS Association!