And then… There was Abram (Part 1)

April 10th, 2013 Posted in Events, Fundraising, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

In the literal sense the drive from Galloway to Westerville only takes about 40 – 45 minutes.

Figuratively, however it took a bit longer.

Finally though, in early October 2011 my wife and I found ourselves en route carrying an MJB Donation.

A gift for a boy named Abram who simply needed a way to get out and play with his sisters, a way for Mom and Dad to get him outside. Abram’s “Get out and play” deck as we call it now.

We had heard about Abram a few months before. His family was having a fundraiser to build the deck, they had a goal number in mind, but came the query – Could The MJB Foundation help?

Of course we would – folks who were industrious enough to hold their own fundraiser? Heck, we were right on board. We would help with the difference. They would raise what they raised, and The MJB Foundation would make up the difference.

So we carried that check with us as we traveled to Westerville.

But here’s the catch – This was the first MJB Gift of Joy we were delivering personally. No agency involved. No intermediary. Just us… and honestly – we were a little nervous.

We were greeted at the door by some lovely young ladies and welcomed in to meet Abram and his family

What followed quite frankly was life changing, and as far as that goes – MJB changing too.

When you lose a child, as we did with Meghan Joy, the feelings, the emotion, the carousel, the roller coaster are all things you do alone. Oh, you have your spouse, and you are together. If you’re lucky, like we were, you have that support, that someone to lean on.

But nobody can understand what it is truly like. Not your friends, not your family, nobody who hasn’t gone through that experience themselves can truly understand what it’s like.

But, Emma and Andy, Abram’s parents, had done just that. Abram’s twin brother Heath passed away when he was 3 weeks and two days old.

Emma and Andy knew exactly who we were, and they made us feel so welcome. We spent about an hour and a half chatting, sharing stories, talking about Heath and Abram, and Meghan and Kailey and Delaney and Livvy, Ella, Mollie and Poppy and on and on, and we gave them the check and went on our way.

Afterwards, we visited the local mall to run some errands.

As we shopped we talked about our visit and marveled at the ease with which Emma carried on a conversation, cared for Abram, and still managed to keep track of what the girls were all doing.

We could not imagine keeping up with that pace. We could not imagine the energy that must take.

We discussed the similarities and differences we shared, and we decided that we were incredibly happy we were able to help, and more importantly that we had made that donation personally.

We kept in contact with Emma and Andy and their clan, with the goings on with Abram and his deck. We invited them to Bowl for Joy and Emma came with the kids and had a terrific time.

Afterward, Emma contacted me with some ideas for other ways The MJB Foundation could help folks, and other ways that she could be involved.

We had no idea…

sing for Joy

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Pushing a Bigger Button

November 16th, 2012 Posted in Fundraising | No Comments »

I would be lying if I didn’t admit that it is sometimes very frustrating to run a charity designed to help kids with challenges.

Too often it seems, those kids are forgotten.

Cerebral Palsy (CP) in particular seems to be a forgotten condition when it comes to identifying “those in need,” but it is certainly not alone.

CP is just not a big button, as I like to call it. It’s not cancer. It’s not autism. It’s (usually) not tragic.

But.It.Is.Everyday! – Just like autism, and just like cancer.

(Please note * I do not mean to diminish the very serious nature and need for support for cancer and autism causes.)

Last summer at Golf for Joy I made a plea to those in attendance that if they took anything away from that day it was just that.

The conditions that affect the kids we try to help are very much like the traffic that we are all encountering now as we travel through Columbus each day – a little bit different, a new set of roadblocks each day, a concrete tunnel which seemingly never ends.

We have a new joke this year that if you put the word “adaptive” in front of some piece of equipment, it’s price automatically raises into the thousands of dollars.

Unfortunately – It’s not so much a joke. In fact, it’s very much a reality. Not funny at all.

Of course, it’s not just the kids who have to deal with these issues.

So many parents fight tirelessly, day after day, caring for their children and their loved ones, trying to maintain some sense of…

Heck, I think we can say it – normalcy.

Which really…

Is impossible.

Very often when my wife and I talk about the 15 months we had with Meghan Joy we note that really…we don’t remember all that much. Very much like the sports cliches you hear so often –

We took one second, one minute, one hour, one day at a time- trying to move forward as much as we could–

I think that part of the reason we continue The MJB Foundation is because we know that struggle. We know that fight. We know what it is to want to feel normal – and we want to help those who are still in the fray.

This year, for the first time ever – The MJB Foundation is nearly tapped out. To date, because of the generosity of our supporters, we’ve been able to give Gifts of Joy totaling $11,041.31 to children with challenges this year, and we’re committed to what might be as much as $6,000 more. (Some of the equipment has to be fitted so there could be some cost variance.)

To put this in perspective – Our events this year raised right around $7,000.

While it’s true that we are giving away more this year than any other, and we had a little bank to spend – it’s also true that more and more families are finding out about us, and more and more kids will need our help.

But we don’t have that big button, and well, we need a big push.

I always said that being at this point is a problem I’d like to have, but I have to admit it scares the holy bejeesus out of me.

But not as much as the day-to-day might scare the holy bejeesus out of those families, and those kids.

So the takeaway is this…

I don’t honestly know how many people read this blog, but I will admit to knowing at least some eyeballs give it a glance every now and then.

So… If you have a second, if you’re so inclined, I would really appreciate it if you could help us spread the word, and let people know that we’re trying to help those kids, and we could use all the help we can get to make this button bigger.

 

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You’re Invited!

October 25th, 2012 Posted in Events | No Comments »
A guest post today. It really speaks for itself. Thanks for taking the time to read.

Hi! I’m writing to invite you, your family and friends to the first annual Ohio Idols for Independence benefit concert. Our goal is to raise thousands of dollars to help kids with cerebral palsy find their voice at home, at school and in their communities.

This event is close to my heart because my daughter, Adriana, lives with cerebral palsy. While she falls on the severe end of CP, the amazing advancements in technology have given her the gift of independent mobility and communication.

I believe when kids with CP find their voice, regardless of physical ability, they experience true independence. Some kids find their voice through music, sports or dance. Other kids, like Adriana, need specialized care and equipment to find their voice. And as many of you know, these things are expensive. Proceeds from the event go to The MJB Foundation to provide funding for children so they get the specialized care, equipment and services they need just to be a kid.

Please join us in helping kids with CP by purchasing your tickets TODAY! Tickets are just $16 and they are available online at www.ohio-idol.com. You can also purchase tickets directly through me by writing a check to The MJB Foundation for the number of tickets you want. Just send me an email and I’ll bring them to you.

If you have any questions, you can email me or call me at 614-309-0799. For information about The MJB Foundation visit www.mjbfoundation.org.

Thank you!

Patty Lyons

Patty Lyons
p.lyons@sbcglobal.net
Parent & Chapter Leader
CP Parent Columbus, A Family Resource Group for Cerebral Palsy
Reaching For The Stars Central Ohio Chapter
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The MJB Foundation visits The Miracle League of Central Ohio

June 6th, 2012 Posted in Events | No Comments »

If you cannot see the video click here.

I posted the story of the quarter on my Facebook Timeline that day.  In truth, I still can’t tell the story without choking up so I’ll share it again here:

A little boy came to our table, asked what we do, looked over everything & asked if “we can donate money right now.” I said sure, thinking he might go find his Mom or Dad. Nope. He reached into his pocket and quietly handed me a quarter. – and that is just one of many cool stories from the day.

We are looking forward to seeing everyone on June 30th at Foxfire golf club. Deadline to register is Friday June 22. You can sign up today here.

Thank you for your support!

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Golf for Joy 2011 Flashback

April 25th, 2012 Posted in Events, History | No Comments »

Working on a lot of Golf for Joy and MJB Foundation business this week, thinking about last year’s tournament and what great success we had. Check out our guest speaker, former Ohio State Buckeye receive Bobby Olive talking about courage, and heart, and Meghan Joy.
(Bobby comes on about 2:25 with an introduction by Keith Hughes from Paetec, one of our sponsors.)

We are really looking forward to this year’s tournament on June 30th at Foxfire Golf Club.

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Walk Now for Autism Speaks

October 10th, 2011 Posted in Events | No Comments »

If you’d like to donate to Walk Now for Autism Speaks and join team Ryan please click here.

Thank you.

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Time To Get Going

July 18th, 2011 Posted in Events, History | No Comments »

I have to confess to a little let down after Golf for Joy this year. We had a terrific turn out, a beautiful day, a great speaker, and on a personal note, my speech seemed to be a  big hit. I’ve given talks that were smoother, and came off more polished, but I think the content this year was a big hit, and that felt kind of cool. To make things even better we raised more money than ever before at Golf for Joy and now have $6,000 more to help us share our Joy with children with challenges. I am very grateful for all of your support.

So, after a lull I came into today wanting to get going, get to the next project, the next thing and well, Monday didn’t come off as planned and I was very frustrated, ready to throw in the towel on the day.

But a good friend gave me a shout out this morning, just when I needed it, and it was the perfect remedy to get me back on track. Thanks Rocky!

This year we had another first at Golf for Joy, we shot video of the speeches, so I was fortunate to be able to go back and revisit that moment. Perhaps you’d like to take a look too…

We hope to have a lot going on at The MJB Foundation in the coming year. There’s a lot to plan, and a lot to do.

Here we go…

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Whew!

June 28th, 2011 Posted in Events | No Comments »

A quick thank you / reflection on Golf for Joy 2011.

Once again many thanks to our supporters, our volunteers, and everybody who came to Golf for Joy 2011.

Netter wants to make sure everyone knows that is not the same shirt Jim wore to golf in on Saturday. He has 2 MJB Foundation golf shirts. (and now a really cool t-shirt too.)

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We’re All Batman

June 25th, 2011 Posted in Events | No Comments »

Note: This is Jim’s speech from Golf for Joy today. It is being cross posted at his personal blog The Life of Jimmer.

When I was a little kid, and even a little bit today I would wonder how super heroes decided who to save? I mean you see Batman saving Vicky Vale, and Spider Man saving  Mary Jane. Heck, Superman turns the world backwards to save Lois Lane.

But let’s say it’s not their girlfriend. It’s not an easy or obvious choice, although even those choices aren’t always easy or obvious. 50 people on a bus or my girlfriend? Hmmm… Let me think about that…

What about if there is more than one crime going on at the same time? We see stuff blowing up on the screen, but you know some body is being robbed in the next block over right? Bad stuff happens to good people all the time. How does the super hero decide?

Here’s what I think.

Sometimes the super hero lets us decide. Because sometimes we are the super hero.

I’m gonna let you in on a secret – Actually, it might not be a secret at all… Still, I want to share it with you today because it’s something that is really special to me.

Ready?

I     Am     Batman

I know. I know. Most of you already knew that, What you don’t know is the secret behind why I am Batman? The core of my “super-hero – ness” if you will…

I am Batman because of you, and what’s more… You are Batman too.

So, uh Jimmer where are you going with this?

Think about this… How is Batman different from you or me or anybody else?

He can’t fly. He doesn’t shoot webs. He doesn’t talk to fish. He doesn’t have a mighty shield. He certainly is not a god.

He’s human. A regular everyday person like you, and like me.

Except…

For the toys.

Remember in the first Batman movie with Michael Keaton where it seemed like the Joker was always one step ahead and then Batman would press some button on his utility belt and swing off to safety. That’s how he rescued Vicky Vale right? and then the Joker said:

“Where does he get all those wonderful toys?”

Well in this world where I am Batman, where you are Batman – I get all my wonderful toys from you, and we get to try to save all these wonderful kids the Joy of childhood. Or at least share it with them anyway.

And just like Superman honors his parents Jor – El and Lara, Spiderman is driven by the death of his Uncle Ben and Batman is driven by the tragic death of his parents – we are all driven by a magical little girl named Meghan Joy.

We don’t have any of the “cool toys,” but we do have the love and support of family and friends and I feel very fortunate to have that support, to feel that love, to share the gifts that we can with folks who need them.

Because while we’re not really super heroes, we are all deciding to help, and that makes all the difference.

Thank you for supporting The MJB Foundation, (and for coming to Golf for Joy today.)

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The Gold Ball

June 24th, 2011 Posted in Contests and Giveaways, Events | No Comments »

If you’re playing in Golf for Joy 2011, you want to watch this.

MJB Gold Golf Ball 50/50 game

Each team can buy 1 gold golf ball for $10. When your foursome buys a gold ball, the players on your team take turns – each golfer will play that ball for at least four of the 18 holes. The gold ball should be played on every hole and must be rotated in sequence amongst your team. The teammate playing the gold ball on a hole uses the ball on the entire hole then it’s passed to the next player to use on the following hole. You can plan ahead to have the best player use it on water holes etc. but once the batting order is decided you must stick to it. Any two golfers are selected by the team to play the gold ball on your final two holes. If your gold ball is hit out of bounds at any time during your round, it is lost – you are not allowed to retrieve it. At the end of the round, if you still have your gold ball, turn it in to an MJB board member – there will be sharpies available to mark your names on your gold ball. Your gold ball will then be in a drawing – one of the surviving balls is picked, that team gets ½ the proceeds of the Gold Golf Ball 50/50 game. Teams who have lost their ball are obviously disqualified. Good luck and Hit ‘em straight!

Really looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow for our 17th annual Golf for Joy.

Hit ’em straight!

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