I don't know exactly how many people showed up, but I do know it was well over 1,500. We had 1,500 general admission wristbands. I planned on counting the leftovers to subtract and figure out how many people attended. Never did I imagine we would run out before 1:45pm (the event was from 11 - 4)! People just kept coming and coming.
We had cars backed up for over 2 miles just waiting to get into the incredible Camp Kiwi. We had 80 volunteers on rotation for the event. I was planning for anywhere from 500-700 guests. What a testament this was to our amazing volunteers who were unfazed when triple that amount of people came rolling in -- and they made sure this event ran as smooth as possible under such pressure. They rolled up their sleeves and said "whatever you need." And they enjoyed every minute of it, too. Smiling big smiles while selling wristbands, moving supplies, executing activities and more. It is also a testament to the incredible staff at Camp Kiwi, who donated the space, their time and their staff to host our fundraiser. I can't say enough about that place. Everyone at the camp executed this massive event with a tireless "aim-to-please" attitude and we are just so grateful.
The pictures below go to show you the amazing impact Ty has had on so many families. Just look at what he did!! This was the proudest moment in all my life. My son. He did this. I just wish he was here so I could hug him and tell him how proud I am. So I could stand there with him next to me, in the flesh. So I could kneel down with my hands on his shoulders and give him a little shake, "Look at what you did!! This is all for YOU!!" Instead I have to whisper those words into the sky above.
I was on my feet for practically 48 hours straight (I did sleep three hours in between). My volunteers and I worked so hard to pull this off, and pull it off we did!!! I had blisters on my feet starting Friday afternoon but I carried on like a marathoner because the energy I felt walking around that event was something I never felt before. Ty was everywhere. It was the most beautiful thing I ever saw. Thank God for my sunglasses because I don't think my eyes were dry for more than five minutes at a time all day. They were the best happy/sad tears in the world. I feel so lucky. I feel so incredibly blessed. I feel my Ty is still with me all the time.
When we were packing up at the end of the day, one of my friends and foundation volunteers asked if I ever thought it would be so big. I told her that it was everything I dreamed it could be, but never thought it really would be. Especially not our very first year. I should never doubt the impact Ty has had on others - not ever again. So, it truly was my dream come true. I dreamed of this in January, and yesterday it came true.
I am totally spent, but I couldn't possibly go to bed without sharing photos. There was an article in the paper today with a video that shows some of the event, and then there are the incredible photos I pulled from our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/thelittlefighter. For those of you who missed it, these incredible pictures can make you feel like you were right there with us. :) This was truly a mess fest from start to finish. Muddy puddle, Splatter paint, food fight, whipped cream and so much more :)
|credit Stas Przymylski|
|credit Stas Przymylski|
I was sad and stressed throughout the planning, of course, and today was an incredible low after the high. I have been asking Ty to send me a ladybug for over a month, nothing. Then yesterday there were swarms of them all over the camp. I had gotten dozens and dozens of pictures where ladybugs landed on all of the incredible people there. Ty sent a shower of ladybugs to the Mess Fest and that made me happy but I couldn't help but be disappointed that none of the ladybugs found me! Then, this afternoon, I was watching Gavin on the playground. I had just finished crying to Lou because it breaks my heart to watch him try to make friends on the playground with other kids who came there together (siblings or groups of friends - Gavin is always by himself). He doesn't always "fit in" and he plays alone and it just shouldn't be that way. Then, Gavin made friends with another little boy with blond hair who loved Spiderman too. I started to feel better and just then a ladybug flew on my arm. She stayed with me for quite some time and when she flew off she hovered over my face before soaring overhead. THANK YOU, TY!