At the end of a wonderfully successful Farm to Table fundraising event, Ceron, the event hostess walked by and proclaimed, "I love humans." It was a fleeting moment, but Ceron is right. In my role at FARA, I get to see the best of humanity- a contagious energy that when faced with challenge surges back to meet and push against that challenge. It is an energy that shows itself in the form of a boy living with FA- Gavin- who though he falls, always gets back up. Gavin's energy inspires his Aunt Ceron and Uncle Donald to open their farm and their home to create a magical fundraising event. Ceron and Donald's generous spirit and energy draw in hardworking volunteers, talented Chefs, toiling farmers, gifted musicians, and generous supporters. This collection of awesome humans create a swell of energy in the form of over $30,000 raised for research and an overwhelming feeling that one is never alone in the face of hardship. Whenever I'm lucky enough to be in the presence of such energy, I am left awestruck and grateful. Thank you! I'll leave it to Ceron to recognize all of these awesome humans by name. ~Felicia DeRosa, FARA Program Director
Oh my goodness, to begin with THANK YOU, seems so small. March 4, 2017 was an amazing night on the FArm as we raised funds for a cure for Friedreich's Ataxia. When the planning for this event occurred I had a goal set to raise at least what we raised last year. We did! Before the event started we had raised nearly $14,000.00...I might have cried just a little bit at that realization.
A special note of appreciation to our strawberry farmer Sam. About 3 weeks prior to FArm to Table the strawberry market bottomed out forcing the local farmers to "kill" about 1/2 of their fields and ours was one of those on the chopping block. However, Sam kept ours alive at a loss for him and a gain for us! So many, many thanks to "our Farmer."
Then we barrel down on the actual event and YOU flooded us with auction items from Antique Coffee Pots, Homemade Wine Racks, Handmade Jewelry, Purses, Lightning Tickets, Lightning Autographed Stamkos Jersey and Drouin Cap, A fabulous Rays Experience, Custom Artwork and Art Pieces, Homemade Afghan, Jams and Jellies, Local Honey, Powder Coated Tumblers, Fitbits, Pampered Chef Product, Jewelry Box, Purse, Spa/Facial Treatments, Small Kitchen Appliances, Cigar gift set, Headphones/Speakers, Fire pit, Gift Certificates, Busch Gardens Tickets and so much more.
Then there was the evolution of the FAces of FA Table that humbled me beyond measure. To each of you who agreed to be on our table thank you! Your joy at being represented was so overwhelming to me because I was truly overjoyed that you agreed! You will never know my joy for having you in my life. You epitomized the theme of the evening by being our SHINING STARS!
Chef Stefan and Jamey knocked it out of the park this year, watching Chef in his element of walking through the green house and picking what he wanted to cook is just way to cool to watch. I wish we could do this every day, and I know he does too!
Marissa and Danny- I would be remiss to not thank you specifially for the harvesting of the yummy salad and the prep of all the vegetables. Not to mention all the other stuff you did to make this event happen.
Lealan -I can't thank you enough for the beautiful and creative art work you do for our events. Somehow, you seem to be able to make thoughts in my head and thoughts in Dawn's head turn into something magical. Your attention to detail is unparalleled.
Volunteers, what can I say...from Miami, Orlando, Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough and all places in between you astound me with what you are able to accomplish! Don't think we didn't notice all the dishes being washed and the tables broken down after all you did to make the evening a success, you take it a step futher and helped with clean up!
Central Vision, our talented band, who is in it for the long haul with us was such a blessing and fun addition to our team this year. Chantal and Josh welcome to the FAmily.
My friends and family who have encouraged me consistently on this journey to raise funds to find a cure for this dreadful disease and who have never ceased to amaze me with their love and support no matter how crazy my ideas might be. Donald, Momma, Daddy, Paul, Vickie, Nana, Aunt Marilyn, Aunt Nodie you are my rocks and I couldn't do it without you.
Dawn and Kevin I will forever be changed because of Gav's birthday party a few short years ago. I would have never guessed how much that one chance "sure I'll go, they have a pool don't they" would change the person I continuously aspire to be. Thank you for letting me hop on the ride that is your life, thank you for teaching me to "ask, the worst they can say is no", thank you for inspiring me to reach beyond my comfort zone into the world around me.
FA'ers, thank you for everything you do every single day that encourages me. You are my daily inspirations and I do not take your FAces lightly! <3
Sam, Nygel, Laurel, Gavin, thank you for coming to our event and supporting our Grassroots effort. Each of you are spectacular and I am honored to have you in my life and to be in your world!
If I have left anything or anyone out my most humble apologies. We could not do this event without each one that has through thought, word or deed supported this FAbulous event.
Now for the drumroll....because of what each of you did our final total raised was $30,272.00...yes you read that number right...we more than doubled last year's event. I can't wait to set the goal for 2018.
Ps...save the date for March 3, 2018...and "Come Gather at our Table" again for a magical night of fun, food and fundraising for FA!!!
View the photos from the evening HERE...enjoy your peak into the event...so pretty!! Thank you Beth!