A Thank You From Varacchi
I'm sure Andy will have his own "thank you" to post, but I wanted to take a moment to do my own.
Earlier this week I started by telling you to be thankful for your healthy children. I am still incredibly lucky to have two happy, healthy, beautiful daughters. Going through this past week, listening to families that have had to struggle with a sick child, it just drives it home how lucky I am.
We were honest all week that we weren't even sure the Radiothon would happen this year. To bust out the tired cliche of "with everything going on in the world", we really did not know what to do. In the end, we came to the realization that it doesn't matter what is going on, the kids are the most important thing. Ocean of Love had to cancel so many other fundraisers, we couldn't let them down. If they didn't get the donations from the Radiothon, there was a legitimate possibility they would have to close their doors. There was no way we were going to let that happen.
We knew that people struggled. We knew that people were fired, we knew people were furloughed, we knew people had their hours cut. We knew that business owners suffered from closing, or only being open at limited capacity. We knew we were facing an uphill battle.
We didn't necessarily realize how many of the big donations that we rely on wouldn't come this year. There were fundraisers that didn't happen, and even looking at some of the big collections from groups were less than normal, because the people that give to those collections were struggling themselves. It was a strange sort of trickle-down effect.
I will be completely honest - I wasn't sure we would make it this year. I know every year we say we have to fight to reach and/or surpass our goal...but we've never had to deal with a global pandemic before. I knew we had to try, but I genuinely wasn't sure what would happen. Over the past years, we know that donations tend to come in bunches. We get a big strong afternoon one day, then the next day things dry up. When we started the last day needing around $47,000, I had a cautious optimism, but I had actually started to steel myself for the fact that we might be begging until the last second.
And then, as always, this community came through. A stunning check from Community Surgical in Toms River, huge donations from Jersey Shore MOPAR, the Syzmanski Fund, Toms River Public Works, and of course all the fire departments across the county (sorry if I couldn't mention everyone)...I'm getting teary-eyed as I write this, almost like it's just starting to sink in. Just looking at the pictures and seeing $155,625 - and knowing that the number will grow as more late donations come in, and all the change is counted - it's just stunning.
I can't give enough of my love and appreciation to everyone who donated, no matter how big or how small, every cent made a difference. I got home last night and gave my two daughters the biggest hugs, and I hope you did the same in your family.