Thursday, November 21.
I had been waiting for this day to arrive for a long time. I was filled with excitement. I was filled with anticipation. I was keeping my fingers crossed.
What was so special about November 21?
That was the day tickets for "The Princess Ball" went on sale. I had made plans to purchase tickets for my daughter and niece as Christmas gifts - after all, what little girl wouldn't LOVE to get all dressed up and go to a Ball?!? With princesses, and princes, and a whole bunch of wonderful things to do? It was a perfect idea.
That morning, I got the kids off to school, waited for my husband to finish up some work, and then we headed in to the mall to get in line for tickets. I got there a bit later than I had planned; however the line up didn't seem too bad, so I remained hopeful that I would have those tickets in my hot little hands sooner rather than later.
The doors finally opened and the line moved forward as people bought their tickets. I felt my heart sink as I got closer and it became clearer and clearer that the pile of specially made Invitations was not going to last long enough for me to get to the front of the line.
I felt disappointed. I mentally chastised myself for not getting there soon enough. I listened to people grumbling - and some even raising their voices - about their inability to obtain a ticket. I watched as the organizer attempted to calm some very upset people in line, and I saw the discomfort of the volunteers selling tickets as people became irate that there were no tickets left. And suddenly, I felt angry - very angry as a matter of fact - not because tickets sold out ten people in front of me, but because at that very moment, the organizer and volunteers should have been celebrating, and the crowd should have been cheering as the event SOLD OUT in 35 minutes. 35 minutes!!! Amazing! Instead, their effort and energy was spent trying to settle a small group of people who were obviously disappointed but not expressing it very maturely. And to me, that's a rip off.
So what? you might be saying …
The reality is, The Princess Ball is organized by a local Mom whose daughter has Cystic Fibrosis. The proceeds of The Princess Ball go towards research and finding a cure for this chronic, life threatening illness. That's right - it is a FUNDRAISER. For a CHARITY. A unique and interesting way to obtain much needed financial support for research - so that those living with CF, and those who are yet to be diagnosed with CF, have access to treatments and opportunities that will allow them to live a full life despite their illness.
Yes, a day at a Ball sounds wonderful and exciting … but you know what sounds even better?!? In 35 minutes these folks raised $24,000!!! $24,000!!! Sure, some of that will go towards the costs associated with putting on an event of this magnitude - but seriously, how can one NOT be excited by the fact that such a significant amount of money was raised in less than an hour?
Look, I get it. I understand the frustration of having waited in line and not gotten a ticket. I understand the disappointment of little girls who will not get to have their day at The Ball. And yes, I even understand why someone would get hot under the collar because of a misunderstanding.
I am also the Mom of a daughter who has a chronic, life threatening illness (not CF). I understand the drive and the desire to raise monies for our charity so that perhaps one day she, along with many others, will be free of her disease - or at the very least have access to technological advances that make it much easier to 'manage'.
I understand what it is like to see your child go through medical appointments and procedures that are scary and uncomfortable. I know the worry and fear associated with the "what if?" and "what next?". I have lived through nightmarish hospitalizations where I honestly was not sure whether or not my daughter would survive - where I have wept while begging God to please not take her yet. I have been part of conversations where a nonchalant mention of someone dying from the disease my daughter has can shake me to the core, and I momentarily live the inexplicable grief that family must be enduring. I can relate to the drive - no, the need - to keep moving forward, keep educating, keep trying to find a cure - all occurring simultaneously with an exhaustion that at times can be completely and totally overwhelming.
I realize that there are many charities out there - all deserving of our support. I have felt the discomfort associated with fundraising at times - because as much as I want to find a cure, I also struggle with continually asking people for money. It is understandable when people are unable to donate - but at the same time, I feel discouraged. I cannot even begin to explain how much I appreciate those who continue to give not just their money, but their time and commitment to being there, over and over and over, and I appreciate and value their support in ways they will never imagine.
So along comes Kelly Tibbets. She decides to do something innovative - something amazing to raise money while also delighting little girls and their mothers everywhere. She starts to organize The Princess Ball. She does this while she runs her own business. She does this while her husband works away from home for extended periods of time. She does this while she is raising her children. She does this while she attends appointments and provides treatments for her daughter. She does this while she volunteers at her older daughters school. She does this while she reconciles the joys, excitement, fears and worries associated with having a child with a chronic illness. I haven't ever seen her in a cape, but I'm pretty darn sure she's a super hero!
She and her trusty volunteers solicit donations from businesses so that the majority of the ticket price goes where it belongs - to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. They spend countless hours assembling invitations, making arrangements for princesses and princes to greet you at the door, arranging for silent auction items, etc. It's a HUGE job - and one that couldn't be completed without the full on personal commitment to finding a cure for CF. I applaud all of them for their perseverance and dedication.
So - for those of you who are fortunate enough to be attending this event - enjoy! Dance with the Princes and Princesses, treat yourself to some candy, and love every single minute - but also remember why you are there. Bid on the silent auction items, make a note of the sponsors and give them your business, or consider making a cash donation.
For the rest of us, consider donating the price a ticket would have cost you to Cystic Fibrosis Canada and mark The Princess Ball in the memo. Email Kelly (firstname.lastname@example.org) to find out if there is any way that you can offer some assistance or sponsor a silent auction item. You may not be able to spend an afternoon surrounded by magic and whimsy; however you just might make a difference in the life of someone living with Cystic Fibrosis.
Also, be sure to check out their new website The Princess Ball - you will find the sponsors listed there. Check out their Facebook and business pages as many of them are running contests for tickets right now - who knows, maybe a Ball is in your future after all ;)
For those of you who would like to learn more about Kelly Tibbets, check out her Guest Post over at
Unlimited BS - she is an amazing woman and we are so very fortunate that she is a part of our community.