When we plan a meeting, we are doing more than scheduling an event, going over contracts, pouring over F&B and the multitude of other items that need to be accomplished. We are building a community, we are bringing together a group of people with shared experiences and a common purpose.
Over the years I have had the pleasure of being a part of many of my clients’ communities. Watching them create valuable experiences for their attendees, growing audiences year after year, rebuilding audiences during the difficult times and what a delight it was to see meeting participants coming back together after the passing of the pandemic.
It fills my heart, I am forever thankful to be a part of these worlds and so grateful to the clients that place their trust in me.
Recently, I watched an event unfold before my eyes, that put fear into my heart. My beautiful granddaughter, Lyncoln, daughter of my son Jason and daughter-in-law Savanna, was diagnosed with leukemia. It was devastating news. It sent us all spiraling.
As heart-wrenching as this time has been, my family and I have also been beyond blessed by friends who have come together to support us.
Almost immediately our friends were organizing things like a Facebook Group, a GoFundMe page, a Bowling & Trivia Night and a supportive Shaving Heads Event – a number of Jason’s formerly hairy friends and family are walking about bald right now.
Recently, we participated in a large event that was created on behalf of Lyncoln and our family. Me, the always planner of events, actually had nothing to do with this one. I did not need to. This event was expertly planned by one of Jason’s longtime friends, Chad, along with a band of other buddies who gave of their time and energy.
Jason and Chad have been close friends since their college days. Over the past 15 years, they’ve shared countless memories. They studied music in college, formed a band and stood by each other’s side as best men at each other’s weddings.
As life carried them forward, their ability to spend time together was hampered, especially with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. They missed out on cherished moments, as each began to grow their families.
Fast forward to the present, and finally, they were once again getting the chance to reconnect and introduce their children to each other. Jason, his wife Savannah and their baby girl, Lyncoln, along with Chad, his wife Connie and their kids, Alice and Elias.
However, amidst the joy of rekindling their friendship, a dark cloud appeared on the horizon with the news of Lyncoln’s life-altering diagnosis.
Chad felt he had to do something more than just send money to help. With the help of his band, Count of Monte Carlo, he began to put together a musical fundraiser to raise money for Lyncoln’s medical expenses. It was a bold endeavor, but the determination to help a friend and his family knew no bounds.
Chad shares, “I never doubted for a moment that we could make it a success. We marked the event on our calendars, and the planning began in earnest. What started as a small idea quickly gained momentum.”
As fate would have it, Chad has strong connections within the O’Fallon, Missouri community. He serves on the board of the local chamber of commerce and takes part in many networking events. His network proved invaluable as he was able to secure an amazing location to hold the event.
As the planning continued a silent auction was organized, which received an overwhelming response. As more and more local vendors expressed their willingness to participate in the event it turned into something much larger than anyone had initially envisioned.
The event transitioned from a musical concert to a full out event with a multitude of people eager to be involved. Food trucks offered to join in; they also committed a portion, if not all, of their revenue to the cause.
Lowe’s, a well-known home improvement store, unexpectedly entered the picture. During yet another fundraiser night for Lyncoln, this one took place at a local Texas Roadhouse, the regional manager of Lowe’s happened to be present. Once she learned of the upcoming event, her store plus another area Lowes store generously donated a swing set, a fire pit, several coolers, patio furniture, a grill, and much more to the silent auction. They also brought out items for kid activities, often featured in their Build and Grow clinics. It was a heartwarming gesture that left a lasting impression on all of us.
As I am sure any meeting planner would appreciate, this event was planned in under two months!
In a serendipitous turn of events, the drummer of the band suggested that they offer to donate a gig to the silent auction. The band readily agreed. Their offer was picked up by the chairman of the board of the O’Fallon Chamber, he then shared that he wished for them to perform at an annual car show in the spring, and would like to donate the proceeds from that event to Lyncoln and her family as well.
That evening we raised $4,000, and since that time an additional $1,000 has come in. We’re excited for the spring event and are also incredibly thankful for all the amazing connections that have been made.
Chad says, “That evening showed me the true power of community; the bonds formed during this journey continue to strengthen, reminding us that when we come together as a community, we can achieve incredible things.”
The last few weeks have been challenging for Lyncoln but she is tough and we are fighting with her to beat this. Our family appreciates all of the support, love and prayers we’ve been getting from our friends and community. If you’d like to follow Lyncoln’s journey, the link to her Facebook page is above.