Journal entry by Bonnie Collins

119.  We were 119 votes short of winning the Xavier grant.  😭 The animal sanctuary won and as bummed as I was, I know Maya would've been happy as she loved animals. And I was amazed at how many votes we received and thankful for my village who rallied so hard for us!  So I licked my wounds, pulled up my bootstraps (I'm really showing my age with these comments) and moved on... only to open a letter in the mail this past Saturday with a check for $5,000!! 😍  It was a grant from an extremely generous couple in Kentucky who have followed Sophia Kappen's journey (Sophia passed away a few months before Maya of leukemia also).  Amy, Sophia's momma, was so kind to try to rally her village for votes for us so I guess this sweet couple followed our progress and took pity on me when we lost, LOL.  Anyway, I am so grateful for their most generous donation!  I would give them a shout out on here but I'm not sure if they want to remain anonymous or not, so if they see this post I just want them to know that I cried like a baby when I saw the check!! 😭  THANK YOU!  And thank you to ALL of you who tried SO HARD to get us the votes!!

I do want you all to know that your donations are helping families!  We have delivered assistance to several families at Cincinnati Children's Hospital over the past few months. I am so happy to be able to help, even if it is probably just a small drop in the bucket as compared to all the medical bills that they have.  I hope, as our foundation grows, that we can do so much more!

I know this is last minute, but if anyone is interested, I'm delivering and emailing Valentines out tomorrow in return for a donation to our foundation.  I came up with the idea yesterday after I received two donations from individuals who donated as a Valentine gift for their loved one.  For a donation of less than $25 I'll email a Valentine's Day e-card acknowledging that a donation has been made to our foundation in their honor (and a message from you if you include it with the donation).  For a donation of $25 or more I'll deliver a box of chocolates and the same card of acknowledgement (if the delivery is local in the Mason area) if you include the recipient's address. For more information visit:  https://mailchi.mp/094cc73e7cde/send-your-valentine-a-card-for-a-cause It's an easy way show you love someone and help a great cause!!

And, finally, we have some BIG NEWS that I wanted to announce that we are super excited about.  We are hosting a Mother's Day luncheon fundraiser at the Manor House Event Center here in Mason on May 9th in conjunction with the Shine Like Sable Foundation.  Sweet Sable passed away suddenly last year from complications of the flu (next week is the one year anniversary of her death, so please send up prayers for her family).  Her family is also from Mason and they have since formed a foundation in her memory and are doing amazing things to carry out her legacy!  Both of our foundations raise funds for Cincinnati Children's Hospital (CCHMC) so we are joining forces to host a fundraiser for this hospital that fought so hard to save our girls!  We will have speakers from CCHMC at the event, games, music, mimosas, delicious food and much more!!  Tickets will go on sale in March so keep a lookout on our website for the link!

We are looking for raffle and silent auction items for the fundraiser.  Incredibly, I posted this sign-up sheet for baskets and auction/raffle items on Facebook and within 48 hours a majority of things had been claimed already!! But there are still a few things on there if anyone can help us out: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0d4aaaae2baa8-raffleauction

Also, other things we are looking for are theatre/orchestra tickets, photography sessions, limo rides, spa packages, vacation destinations or any type of experience like a personal chef or private restaurant event.  

Next week I will head to St. Jude for the Volunteer Leadership Conference. Last year I had the honor of attending as I was on the Cincinnati St. Jude Run/Walk committee.  This year I will attend as one of the top 50 fundraising teams. I'm super proud about that and looking forward to touring the hospital and seeing friends. 

It's going to be a great year!  We have been diligently planning our upcoming fundraisers.  I'm excited for what's in store.  Oh, and Tom is going to be opening a brewery in a month or so (I am Event Director), so there's that too.  Life is insane, but we constantly feel Maya... nudging us from behind and whispering in our ear. She fuels my fire.  I am learning to listen to my heart... to let go and let my heart take me where I need to be.  She is there... always... leading the way. Teaching me and showing me.  I may not hear her speaking the words, but she is everywhere... guiding me.  And for that I find peace.  Tomorrow will be a hard day for a lot of us.  The memories of the girls, decorating their tissue boxes, the excitement of the school parties, filling out their cards carefully for each person in their class.  I know they both are/would be too old for all of that now, but I still feel cheated.  It all ended so abruptly.  It's just not right.  😢  But I AM excited to take Anna out to lunch tomorrow.  Seeing her eases my heart. She makes me so proud with everything that she accomplishes and I know Maya is so proud too. 😍  Happy Valentine's Day to all of you, and to all who might feel lonely or has lost a loved one, please know that we hold you in our heart. 🙏 

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