Hope everyone had a happy and safe 4th and for those of you lucky enough to be off today, I hope it's filled with family, love and joy!
I wanted to thank everyone who attended our "Kindness Matters" Mother's Day brunch. It turned out to be a perfect day and with your amazing generosity we will be donating $20K to Cincinnati Children's Hospital! $10K will benefit pediatric cancer research in honor of Maya and $10K will benefit the Child Life Department in honor of Sable Gibson. Amazing! In addition, The Live Like Maya Foundation granted 3 Maya Collins "Pay it Forward" scholarships to 3 incredible Mason seniors who embodied kindness, goodwill, leadership and family commitment... amongst many other incredible virtues!
This month has been tough for me. I guess in all honesty, every season is tough... but the memories of summer seem more vivid to me. Maya loved the beach and the ocean. She loved going to Kings Island, Menchies and Whippy Dip. Just hearing the Kings Island fireworks at night makes me sad. All of her friends graduating and the excitement of college. It's hard. Memories pop up on Facebook. Memories of our last 4th of July spent at St. Jude. Pictures of our St. Jude friends on that evening, watching the fireworks from the top of the parking garage at St. Jude. We have lost 3 of the 5 friends from that night from cancer (pictured). We need to work harder to find cures. 💔
In addition, it's been hard as we've lost more kids in Mason. We lost our sweet Reef Carneson. Reef battled cancer for many years. Our foundation supported his family often and they captured our hearts. Sadly, Reef passed away last month. He was so much like Maya. It's another devastating loss to this dreaded disease. 💔 And the sweet redhead, JJ Day, passed away in his sleep a few months ago. And Simone Scott passed away on June 11 at the age of 19. So much loss in our town. It's just not right.
But Mason continues to rally and lift up these precious families, just as our village did in 2017 for our family. And much goodness continues to swell from the carnage. It's a beautiful thing. And everyone deals with grief differently. JJ's momma, Kristen, like myself, has found that doing good and spreading kindness is a "bandaid for the soul". She has hit the streets running with fundraising for various causes. And she's a force.
I've found it becoming more difficult to continue the fundraising momentum as there is definite "donor fatigue", and I totally get it. With all of the amazing organizations being formed and fundraising for such incredible causes, it does tend to oversaturate. This year we will finish out our fundraising for the year with the 2 fundraisers we have held in previous years, our Family Friendly Game Night on Aug 29 and Designer Purse Bingo on Oct 14. We are thankful that we are able to hold in-person events again. The Game Night is the same Bingo Night that we've held in previous years but we are adding in some additional fun activities. For more info on this event and for tickets visit: https://mayasgamenight.eventbrite.com
Stay tuned for more info and ticket sales for the Designer Purse Bingo. It's going to be a fun one!
Also, if anyone has any unopened toys or things that might make good prizes for Game Night please let me know and I'll pick up! We are looking also for gift cards as prizes. Please email me at: LiveLikeMaya@gmail.com or text: 513-807-3385.
We are hoping to do something at our brewery, Third Eye Brewing Co., for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September but we had a conflict on Maya's birthday weekend, the 12th, so not yet sure what we will do. Stay tuned on that.
Next year we will reassess our fundraising strategy. Maybe less events but more impactful? I don't know. We will figure it out. I tend to get discouraged and beat myself up but then I tell myself that whatever we are able to raise is better than nothing!
On Friday I happened to be returning something right next door to Bath and Body Works, Maya's favorite store. I hadn't entered that store since she passed away but I needed more Wallflowers. I had accumulated so many of them when she was alive as every time we went in there I'd purchase some. Well, my stash finally ran out so I reluctantly stopped in to purchase more. The memories of shopping with her in there came flooding back. I just wanted to get out of the store as quickly as possible. I grabbed what I wanted and rushed to the counter to pay. The sweet cashier asked me to verify my email and she recited Maya's email to me. I caught my breath. I had forgotten that we had given them Maya's email so she could receive all the coupons. Through tears I asked her to replace Maya's email with mine. The finality of it. It's one more thing that will be gone forever. It's like she is slowly but surely just fading away and it shatters my heart. It's so hard.
Thank you to everyone for your continued support. I know I say that all the time but I really mean it. There are so many causes out there and they are all GREAT causes, so I just cry every time we receive a donation or someone offers to volunteer or any gesture of support. We have formed a team again this year for the Cincinnati St. Jude 5K. Here's the link to our team if anyone would like to donate or join us as we walk for such an amazing hospital: http://walkrun.stjude.org/LiveLikeMaya
Thank you again, and I hope everyone is having an amazing summer and thank you for #LivingLikeMaya. 💙