Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Teddi Dance for Love & More

One of my favorite sayings is that if you want to see God laugh, plan!  I had all good intentions of updating you with a post last week, but unfortunately I was under the weather and am just now starting to feel better and get caught up with work.


I didn’t feel well enough to attend the Opening Ceremonies of the 31st Annual Teddi Dance for Love at St. John Fisher College last Friday evening, which was so difficult for me, as this is the first time in the history of this special event that I have not been there on Friday night.  Thankfully, I did make it on Saturday evening for the Closing Ceremonies and I am so glad that I did!  The Teddi Dance for Love is one of my favorite times of the year.  There are two things in life that are always guaranteed – whenever the Teddi Dance for Love takes place, it is always so cold outside, but inside, the warmth and love from all of the dancers is overwhelming.  It has been said that the two greatest gifts that we as human beings can give to one another are our time and our love.  Over those 24 hours, each and every one of them give so much of both, and their efforts will directly result in the creation of some good days and special times for some very special children and families who are dealing with cancer.  As Teddi’s Dad, they go above and beyond in helping to keep my daughter’s spirit and memory alive.  There are truly no words to express my gratitude for that special gift they give to me.


THANK YOU! To Danielle Allington, Chair and Jenny Keeler, Vice-Chair, along with the entire Teddi Dance for Love Committee, the hundreds of participants, all of the volunteers, and the administration, faculty and staff at St. John Fisher College, and Honorary Chairman, Steve Hausmann, co-host of Coffee in the Morning on 92.5 WBEE for making the 31st Annual Teddi Dance for Love a tremendous success, generating $50,931.56 to support the Teddi Project at Camp Good Days, which helps to provide the Annual Florida Fun Fest trip and other special activities and events for the children and families we serve. 


Similar to all those who planned, participated in and supported the Teddi Dance for Love, there are so many individuals, businesses, and organizations that make it possible for us to do all that we do here at Camp Good Days – and all that we are able to give back is a good feeling and the knowledge that they are helping some very special children and families.  Next month, we will be recognizing and honoring some of those that have made a real difference in the lives of the children and families at Camp Good Days.  On Friday, March 8, 2013, we will host A Night of Gratitude, at the Rochester Plaza Hotel in Downtown Rochester, during which we will recognize the 2012 Teddi Award Winners and Ring of Honor Inductees. 


The Ring of Honor was established as part of Camp Good Days’ 25th Anniversary Celebration in 2004 and includes those who are selected for their outstanding dedication, commitment and support of the thousands of children and families served over the years. In addition to their award, inductee’s names will be included in the permanent Ring of Honor display, which is located at the Camp Good Days’ Recreational Facility, in Branchport, NY, for all to see.  The inductees for the Ring of Honor, being recognized at A Night of Gratitude are: Katie Bess; Maggie Brooks; Nancy Chestnut; Brian Cuvelier & Family; Monroe County District Attorney’s Office; Peter Formicola (posthumously); Aimee Gasparre; Rob & Tina Harter; Jerry Romanowski; Louise Slaughter; St. John Fisher College Football; Mark Soule; Walden Galleria Mall; Scott Vallow; Jayne Van Zile; Chris Van Zile-Stabins; and University of Rochester Football


The Teddi Award is one of the highest honors bestowed by Camp Good Days to those who have gone above and beyond within the past year, in helping to fulfill the mission of improving the quality of life for children, adults, and families whose lives have been touched by cancer and other life challenges.  The recipients of the Teddi Award are: Eliana Blatt; Travis Butchello; Campground Owners of New York; Canisius College Women’s Basketball; Annmarie Charo; Jerrod Church; Patrick & Suzanne Crough; Steve & Patty DiGennaro; Louie Donato; Joe Donato; Tony Donato; East Amherst Dental; Matt Elkins; Mark Gestring, MD; Otto Harnischfeger; Dave Henderson; Justin Jerzak; Lauren Keeler; Dave Petrie; Pittsford Dairy; Walter Sanders; Nikki Sepielli; Beth Shope; St. Luke’s Cookie Baking Ladies; and Vogue Salon & Day Spa.


We hope that all who are able will join us for this very special evening and help us in honoring and thanking all of our award recipients.  Tickets to attend A Night of Gratitude are $30.00 per person and may be purchased by contacting Laura Osborn, here at the Camp Good Days’ Headquarters, 585-624-5555 or 800-785-2135, or via email, losborn@campgooddays.org.  You can also purchase tickets online, at www.campgooddays.org. 


The rest of this week brings a number of meetings for the Tournament of Love, the Tour de Teddi, our weekly Staff Meeting, and a Project Exile Advisory Board Meeting.  So things are busy and continue to move along. 


Until next time…wishing you all a great week and a very Happy Valentine’s Day filled with lots of love!

Friday, February 1, 2013

New Year Update

It is hard to believe that we are already one month into the New Year!  I hope that everyone had a joyous Holiday Season and a great start to 2013. 


We had a very successful Holiday Season, here at Camp Good Days, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the JC Penney Managers and Employees at Marketplace Mall, Greece Ridge Center Mall, and Eastview Mall, as well as the Rochester Lancers, City of Rochester, the Walden-Galleria Mall in Buffalo, Destiny USA in Syracuse, and Old Navy at the Shops at Ithaca, as well as all of the volunteers and those who helped to support Camp Good Days and Special Times’ Annual Joe Benet Memorial Kazoo Fest this Holiday Season.


With the start of the New Year, we are actively pursuing our goals and objectives, which I shared with all of you in my last post. 


One of those is to continue the efforts of CANCER MISSION 2020, moving from the INFORMATION Phase to the CALL TO ACTION Phase.  I am pleased to share with you that I had the opportunity to meet with Congressman Tom Reed this week and he will re-introduce the CANCER MISSION 2020 Legislation, as soon as possible.  Once we have the new bill information, we will be sure to share that with all of you, so that you can ask your representatives to support this important legislation.  We also met this week, with some of our colleagues who helped to develop the Action Plan to Reduce the Burden of Cancer in Monroe County to discuss some ideas and plans for March, which will be Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.  Cancer is the leading cause of death, here in Monroe County, and colorectal cancer is the second-leading cancer killer in our community.  We look forward to sharing our plans for next month with all of you very soon.  Save the date – if you live in and around the Greater Rochester area, our next CANCER MISSION 2020 Petition Drive will take place next Friday, February 8, 2013 from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM at Rochester City Hall.  Everyone is welcome to stop in and see us, sign the petition, and obtain informational materials about our work to end cancer by the end of the decade.


We will also continue the work we do under the auspices of the Partners Against Violence Everywhere (PAVE) Initiative, and Project Exile, working to remind people about the awesome responsibility that comes with gun ownership. One important thing I have learned through my involvement with Project Exile, and according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, is that approximately 39% of crime guns here have been stolen.  Project Exile is supported by both the NRA and the Brady Gun Lobby, and no one is denying our Second Amendment right as Americans to own a gun, but there is an enormous responsibility to gun ownership.  The horrific tragedies that occurred in Newtown, and in our own backyard in Webster on Christmas Eve, are the worst kind of violence, and while we need to be more conscious about mental illness and provide a support system for those individuals and families dealing with that, we need to have a very serious conversation about guns, and it needs to start with our leadership at the top.  Hopefully these tragedies will finally lead to some positive action.


Tune in to the Camp Good Days’ Radio Show next Thursday, February 6, 2013 at 6:30 PM on WYSL News 1040 AM / 92.1 FM to hear more about this topic, from local law enforcement officials and prosecutors, including United States Attorney for the Western District of New York, William Hochul; United States Marshal, Charles Salina; Resident Agent-in-Charge for the Rochester Office of the Bureau of ATF, Scott Heagney; Monroe County District Attorney, Sandra Doorley, and Rochester Police Chief, James Sheppard.  If you are outside of the listening area, you can get the podcast of the show at www.wysl1040.com. 


As many of you know, special fundraising events are vital to Camp Good Days, as they provide the means for us to continue keeping the promise I made 34 years ago - that all of our programs and services would be provided free of charge for the participants, so as not to create any additional financial burden on those families served.  Oftentimes, especially when a child is diagnosed with cancer, one of the parents (if the child is lucky enough to have both parents in their life) becomes the primary caregiver and must cut back their hours at work.  With that, the family income decreases, yet the bills remain the same, and I never wanted a family to have to make the decision between sending their loved one to Camp Good Days and paying their bills.  There are very few things that are the same price as they were in 1979 – that price being free.


This morning, some of us had the pleasure of attending the Beary Brunch, at St. John Fisher College this morning.  The Beary Brunch is the official kick-off to the Teddi Dance for Love week.  The 31st Annual Teddi Dance for Love will take place next Friday & Saturday, February 8 & 9, 2013 in the Student Life Center at St. John Fisher College.  This 24-hour dance marathon is planned and implemented by a student committee at the college and raises funds to support the Teddi Project, here at Camp Good Days, providing the funds necessary for us to be able to take campers on special outings and activities, and on the Annual Florida Fun Fest.  The Teddi Dance for Love is one of my favorite times of year; a time when you see firsthand the true meaning of love, hope, and giving.  Each and every year, I continue to be amazed by the hard work, dedication and devotion displayed by the Teddi Committee, all of the participants, volunteers and supporters, and the overall St. John Fisher College community.  As Teddi’s Dad, all those involved with the Teddi Dance for Love help to keep my daughter’s spirit and memory alive.  There are truly no words to express my gratitude for that special gift they give to me. 


We will be bringing a group of campers to the Teddi Dance for Love on Saturday, from 4:00 PM – 8:15 PM.  The campers always have a blast, meeting and dancing with the participants, and the Closing Ceremonies, as well as the Opening Ceremonies, are truly remarkable.  Prior to attending the Teddi Dance for Love, the campers are in for a fun-filled weekend, which begins on Friday evening with a sleepover party, complete with ice cream sundaes and movies.  On Saturday morning, the group will head to Canisius College, where they will be the special guests of the Women’s Basketball Team, taking a tour of the locker room, having pizza in the Griff’s Den, and watching the team take on Loyola.


One of my personal goals is to be more consistent with these blog posts, in an effort to keep you all up-to-date.  Sometimes it can be a bit difficult, as you can tell from the number of different programs, events, activities and efforts we are involved with – but I promised to do my best.


So, until next week (hopefully), I wish you all a safe and wonderful Super Bowl Weekend!