Wow. More than one person came up to Robyn or I last night and said “this is a perfect evening.” We felt the same, and couldn’t be more grateful for all of your support, and for showing up at The Orpheum last night for 2015’s Karaoke for the Kure in Tampa.
We’re still tallying up the official numbers, but we raised over $94,000 – our best Karaoke for the Kure in Tampa yet. That money benefits childhood cancer research; last night we had 7 families in attendance who have fought or are fighting childhood cancer, many of whom are being touched by the research we’re helping to fund. One of those people, Lindsay Matway, whose brother David died of neuroblastoma when she was young (Ezra’s middle name was David), stunned us with an incredibly generous $25,000 check halfway through the night.
Nearly 300 people showed up last night, and the live-band karaoke was in full effect all night long, with 30 minutes of speaking in there. People were crying “plant!” all night thinking, seriously, these can’t be amateurs jumping on this stage! We had everything from the Backstreet Boys to Sam Smith, from Fugees to staples like Bon Jovi.
We were honored to have Dr Giselle Sholler fly out from Grand Rapids just for the night (her plane landed 15 minutes before the event started!), and share some of the research that is being done, and how not one child had relapsed from neuroblastoma in the three years she’s been at Helen DeVos Children’s hospital (typically 40-50% of high-risk nb children relapse).
Robyn and I left the venue just before midnight, with huge smiles on our faces and warm feelings in our hearts, feeling your support and knowing this is making a difference. There were so many of you who had beautiful things to say to us, and who we can’t wait to share some time with soon to catch up. Thank you all, and let’s keep beating this.
As with every year, we owe so many thank yous. This event, and everything we do at Because of Ezra, doesn’t work without being surrounded by amazing people.
- Noelle Muniz, our newly hired Assistant Director, has connected to the world of childhood cancer with such passion, and we’ve been blessed to have her join our team. She’s to blame for the event running so smoothly and looking so great last night, and we’re looking forward to having her around for years.
- All our volunteers who showed up to run the registration, take donations, and overall make things run well. Callie, Charlene, Christina, Jhanavi, Joe, Julie, Laney, Leah, Lindsay, Michael, and Philip – THANK YOU.
- Lindsay Tracy helped get all those great silent auction items, and is all around a great friend. Her sister-in-law Mande Tracy also deserves thanks for hanging at our house with our 5 year old, Charley!
- Mary and Xuan from Anise Global Gastrobar in downtown Tampa have been incredibly supportive this year, and brought great food last night. Xuan has agreed to have a seasonal drink on their menu year-round, with $1 from every sale benefiting Because of Ezra. They’re great.
- FOX 13’s Charley Belcher, our emcee for the evening, is personally connected to childhood cancer. His daughter Lindsay beat leukemia, and Charley looked overcome with joy to be embarrassing her by bringing her on stage. One of our good friends who basically throws events for a living said “he was the perfect MC.”
- Dr Giselle Sholler, the chair of the NMTRC, is one of the most inspiring people we know, and the research she’s spearheading at over 25 hospitals across the world is directly changing kids’ survival. She flew in just for the event last night, and spoke about the work the NMTRC is doing.
- Jerry Dufrain from The Orpheum is a gentleman, and such a great host, two years in a row now. We’ve never had any issues with the venue because of his easy-going demeanor and big support for Because of Ezra.
- We were honored to have many families present who have battled or are battling childhood cancer. Thank you for letting us be a small part of your story, Spivas, Lucas’, Andersons, Pattersons, Belchers, and Matways.
- Our sponsors give financially to help make the event happen, and deserve huge ups. Check marks are repeat sponsors! Thank you to the Tampa Bay Lightning√, Deliver Media√, the Tampa Bay Rays√, Laicos√, Fly Bar & Restaurant√, Florida Blue√, Clear Channel Outdoor√, Grow Financial√, the Spiva Family√, Hivelocity√, Hill Ward Henderson√, Cigar City Brewing, EWI Construction, Muniz and Associates, the Tampa Bay Times and tbt, Shook Hardy & Bacon, five labs√, Laser Spine Institute√, Ascent Wines√, TECO Energy, John and Suzanne Legg√, and Rogers Towers.