Yesterday I received a package from one of Libby's quilting teacher friends, Faye Labanaris, from New Hampshire, containing checks to the Libby Lehman Medical Fund totaling $5,250! Faye describes her fantastic fundraising event in her own words below:
"Roses for Libby Fund Raiser by Faye Labanaris
The Kathy Dunigan Academy of Applique, Rockwell, Texas
The Hilton Dallas/ Lake Rockwall, February 3-7, 2015
I have known Libby first as fellow teacher, then as a friend. I have been following her on Caringbridge and have said a prayer after each reading. I had not sent flowers as other teachers have, but I wanted to do something more, over the donations I have previously sent in.
The opportunity arose with my teaching at the premier of TKDAA, The Kathy Dunigan Academy of Applique, in Rockwall,Texas this February. I decided to offer my vintage necktie roses for Libby, with at least 50% of the proceeds going to her. I brought 140 roses and hoped to raise $500 to send to Libby’s Medical Fund.
I was not able to attend the first night TKDAA gathering as I was giving a lecture in Kaufman, Texas to the guild that was providing hostess to Kathy’s event. My lecture was – A Tribute to Celia Thaxter 1835-1894. My quilt, A Tribute to Celia Thaxter, was a runner up for the century’s best 100. There is a quote I use in the lecture from a letter Celia wrote to a friend that I use for the end of the lecture – the letter begins… I wore your roses yesterday, … and ends …and every thought of you a rose! This became the unspoken theme of Roses for Libby!!
On the second night when I got up to speak, I told the audience of Libby’s situation and the Roses for Libby fund raiser. I was able to announce that we had raised over the first two days a total of $500. I hoped we would reach $1,000 to send by the end of the event. As I was just getting into my seat, a lady whispered in my ear as she hugged me, that she was matching the $500! I was speechless, shaking and in tears as took her to my classroom / store and gave her a dozen tie roses as she wrote the check.
At the end of the event, a second lady matched the $500 again, so we now had a total of $1,500!! My goal was met and exceded!! The second donor came in the next morning to give me her check. She was a quilter and had recently suddenly gone blind in one eye, with the other almost blind but slowly coming back. She knew what Libby was going through. She bought a few spools of Superior Tthreads in the hopes of sewing again.
Over the next few days the generosity was overwhelming. One lady came in and wanted a rose. She wrote a check for $500! Superior Threads also donated a check for $500. One of the sponsor quilt shops wanted to do more in addition to writing a check for $100, so they collected items from teachers and vendors. Kathy donated a $900 full scholarship to TKDAA’16. These were auctioned off Saturday in a surprise auction after I got up to give what I thought was the final total. We had a bit of rehearsal and the shop jumped up and said it is not the final total and we are not done! …and So the auction began. We raised $1460! As I walked back to my seat a lady pressed a roll of 20’s into my hand - $140. I posted the fundraiser results on Facebook and have received a pledge for another $200! The grand final total donated to the Libby Lehaman Medical Fund from Roses for Libby is $5,250!!
I owe Libby a very big thank you for saving my life once on a short flight from Lancaster, Pennsylvania to Philadelphia in the mid 90’s. It was a tiny plane and there was turbulence. We sat next to each other and it wasn’t long before my fingers went numb and a started to get blind spots and hyperventilate. I was having a full blown panic attack from the anxiety of small planes. Libby rubbed the back of my neck the whole time my head was down as I was waiting to die! She gave me a bag to breathe into and kept saying I would be ok. The trip was only 20 minutes but it seemed like a life time. By the time we land I WAS OK!! Thank you Libby!!!
As a thank you, Ellen Peters and I had her teach for us at Quilt Hawaii – twice. The first time was on Oahu, in Honolulu at the Sheraton Waikiki. We had several big name teachers, including Judith Montano and Lorraine Torrence, plus a teacher from Australia. Libby liked our tropical wear, which we said we got at Hilo Hatties. So off she went with a group of teachers shopping and came back with matching outfits which they wore to the show opening that night. It was quite a show! Libby has always been gracious and down to earth friendly with me. I miss her in the teacher’s room in Houston. I shall be there this year teaching and hope to see Libby and give her a big hug and more roses.
I sent Cathy a brief note saying I would like to make necktie roses for Libby her sisters, caregiver, and anyone else you would like to have a rose. Simply send me neckties labeled as to who they are for. It would truly be my pleasure and an honor to do so.
There is a lot of love for that wonderful lady and the power of prayer IS powerful. I am grateful I was able to do this small token of help for Libby. God bless her and her wonderful family!
Most sincerely, Faye Labanaris
80 Mt. Vernon St, Dover, NH 03820Cell: 603 765 3707
Thank you so much, Faye! Your enthusiastic and energetic support for Libby is so appreciated! You are indeed - A ROSE! And thank you to all of you other angels that made such generous and kind donations. Libby told me to tell you that she loves you all!
PS. The pictures are of Faye (note Texas denim vest) and of Faye with Connie Ritchie, the high bidder on one of the auction items.