My family and I made our way into Brooklyn and found the venue with no trouble at all. When we entered we were overloaded with everything going on. There were rides, vendor booths, hundreds of baskets, a silent auction, costumed characters and food, food, FOOD! It was awesome! I quickly found Caitlin McFeely, the coordinator of the event, to say "Hello."
We then made our way from booth to booth and event to event, of course, taking pictures along the way! As usual, I saw so many familiar faces. As I always say, one of the best things about supporting such amazing causes is running into the same like-minded people again and again.
Before we knew it, it was lunchtime! I have never seen so many hamburgers and hot dogs in my life! Of course, it was all delicious! After lunch the ceremony began and Jeffrey Pearson, the Chief Financial Officer of St Jude, spoke about the history of the organization. I knew a lot about St Jude already, but I learned quite a few new facts from him.
Afterwards, we listened to stories of families who were helped directly by St Jude. I am still overwhelmed when I listen to how resilient and positive those affected by pediatric cancers are. It always renews my faith in the human spirit and makes me realize how lucky I am to be healthy and to be able to support these organizations as a titleholder in the Miss America system. I am humbled by people who have gone through so much and still spend their time advocating for others.
Later on in the afternoon, baskets were called and a final total for the event was announced. My jaw dropped….$1,000,000 was being donated to St. Jude, with $30,000 of that coming directly from Kids For Kids! It dropped even further when the President of Kids For Kids spoke. He is only 12 years old, but he spoke with the conviction and passion of someone much older. It makes me feel so wonderful that there are kids who are giving and compassionate. I made sure I met him to tell him so afterwards!
Thank you to Caitlin McFeely for including me in both the Kids For Kids and Family Fun Day events. I will be a supporter of St Jude for many years to come. Keep up the amazing work!