I 💗 Team Gina

Today, Joe, Jacob & I joined Team Gina at a fundraiser that was put on by a local golf club in support of their organization. It was a day filled with golf, raffles, a silent auction and lots of laughs. 

We met everyone after the golf game for a banquet lunch. Seated at the front, we were joined by our sweet friends that we met at the golf event in April and the owner of Bear Construction, whom is a massive supporter and dear friend to Team Gina. Our friends have two littles and we were so anxious for them all to meet today! They hit it off immediately and the cuteness was on serious overload. Mae, their daughter, kept feeding Jacob fruit across the table. Jacob was in heaven with her! They spent lots of time chasing each other around and laughing hysterically too. It was priceless!!

After our yummy lunch (yes, I indulged in a cookie and it was totally worth it!), Will, the founder of Team Gina, gave a wonderful speech and thanked everyone for coming. Next, Audrey and I spoke and I joked about holding her hand while we stood there.  Neither of us prepared anything formal but we walked up together and each spoke from the heart. 

I briefly shared my diagnosis story but immediately talked about the reality of day to day life. One of the biggest things that comes to mind at diagnosis is finances. Not just insurance and prescriptions but day to day living expenses to help with treatment side effects. It’s a scary and confusing question and not one that you ever want to ask. Team Gina is a local organization that helps families like mine. I had reached out to them earlier this year and they didn’t hesitate. Aside from the amazing golf tournament weekend that we experienced with them and the yummy meal that we shared in April, they covered my entire medical deductible for this year. Every. Penny.  And they didn’t think twice about it.

Is it hard to ask for help? Oh gosh, yes. But it’s organizations like Team Gina that make you feel better about it. They are here to help families like us and although it isn’t a club I asked to be a part of, I wouldn’t trade meeting them for anything. They are a bunch of guys who care deeply about helping local families affected by breast cancer. And it’s not just financial assistance. It’s hugs and texts and kind words that go so incredibly far. They are some of the kindest, generous and most giving men that we have had the pleasure of knowing.

So today, I put aside my fear and I said a few words. I hope that every person in that room saw through my tears and knew that Team Gina is helping in big ways…and so are each of them.

And as a random side note, a local magazine wants to interview me for a January issue…how cool is that?!

A weekend away…

Pink fire truck

When we had the pleasure of meeting Will and the fellow board members for the Gina McReynolds Foundation, they invited us to spend the weekend at their biggest fundraiser of the year – a golf tournament. So this weekend, we did just that – and what an experience it was.

We arrived during a massive downpour on Friday night that caused the outdoor acoustic concert and dinner to be moved inside. The concert and dinner was held for the families they have helped and the volunteers assisting with the event. The room that we stayed in was one of the rooms that were generously donated by sponsors of the event. The moment we arrived at the golf lodge, we were greeted with big smiles and lots of hugs – and that didn’t stop all weekend.

Once checked in and settled, we headed to dinner where we met many of the volunteers and supporters of the organization. Dinner was delicious and we enjoyed listening to Tobacco Road play throughout the evening – the guitar player was even a pink guitar with Team Gina’s name on it! The guitar player promised to play it at all his events going forward too! We sat with another couple that we met upon check in and found out that we had lots in common. Will was right when he said he thought we’d get along great! The evening was lots of fun and left us excited for the following day’s festivities.

Saturday brought lots of sunshine and clouds that were so low to the sky, it felt like you could touch them. We spent the morning checking out the setup…it was incredible. The entire courtyard was transformed to prepare for the dinner and concert after the tournament. The lodge even allowed them to paint the pergola pink with ribbons! The clubhouse was packed with volunteers and all sorts of goodies that were donated for the raffle. Not to mention all of the golf carts that were loaded with donated gift bags for the golfers – over 240 golfers! The three of us got our steps in while we wandered around meeting tons of people and trying to take in all that was happening.

Dancing 042316

Eventually naptime came and Jacob slept for a while. Afterwards, we headed back out just in time to hear the band start practicing. We had the amazing opportunity to meet the Tobacco Road band (I was too star struck to think about taking a picture – eek!) and the bass player even let Jacob play with his bass! Jacob was dancing away out in the grass having an absolute ball listening to them while setting up. He also had a ball soon after that playing with the golf balls around the putting area. Little man had a blast with all the different colors and trying to carry them all at once.

After the tournament ended, dinner was served and we had the opportunity to chat with some of the men and women who made the event possible. The amazing sponsors who give their time, money and effort to help make this event – this organization – possible is heartwarming. There was a live auction, a silent auction and a raffle…all made possible from donations.

Music 042316

Oh, and there was a pink fire truck! Not only was it a pink fire truck but it was a pink fire truck that was signed by survivors! They offered for me to sign it and I couldn’t uncap that marker fast enough. What an honor it was, to write my name on that fire truck stating that I am a survivor.

Signing 042316

Once Tobacco Road Band started playing, Jacob started showing his dance moves again. We sat and listened to them play for hours – they were awesome. Eventually little man was tuckered out and fell asleep while I rocked him outside of our room. The music continued to play and the stars shined brightly in the sky above us. It was beautiful.

Night 042316

And if that wasn’t enough…we were surprised with a visit from Fred Stokes! He offered to let me try on his Superbowl ring, which I couldn’t pass up. It was huge and gorgeous! Such an incredible feeling to wear that and meet him. He even signed a copy of his book for us and chatted with us for a while. So cool!

Soon after that, we met the owner of Bear Residential Construction, who was the title sponsor for the golf tournament. Aaron is one of the reasons this event is possible and it was an honor to meet him.

The entire weekend was beyond amazing. There were a lot of tears, a lot of laughs and just an overwhelming sense of belonging. These people, they do this out of the pure goodness of their hearts. They genuinely, sincerely care about helping families like mine that are impacted by breast cancer. They opened their arms and their hearts to us and we embraced them.

I think what amazes me most about this weekend is that despite how hard they were working – and they were busting their butts the entire time – they still went out of their way for us. They continued to surprise us with unexpected meetings and opportunities, on top of what was already a fabulous weekend getaway. Everything about this organization, and the people who are a part of it, makes my heart smile.

I am blessed to be a part of the Team Gina family.