Giving generously is something that I feel called to do. I quietly donate sessions to families that come into my life, when my heart leads me to do so. It happens quite frequently, to be honest. I am certain that I donate more of my work than is financially advisable for anyone running a small business, but I digress. My heart feels good for sharing when I can.
In addition to personal giving, there are a couple of favorite local charities that I love to support.
One of my favorite charitable organizations is Cure on Wheels, specifically the Crack Up Cancer annual fundraiser at the Tampa Improv in Ybor. My clients (and now friends), Jack and Brittany Bevilacqua, founded this annual event 8 years ago to honor Jack's parents who lost their fight with cancer, to celebrate life and greet obstacles with a light heart (as his mom did), and to raise money for local cancer research organizations. What's most impressive is that 100% of the profits from the event will directly benefit local cancer patients in Tampa Bay: specifically Moffitt Cancer Center and St. Petersburg YMCA Livestrong Program.
I'm proud to have donated my photography services to their raffle for three years in a row (congrats, Leslie!), but last night was the first year I was able to attend in person. What an experience!! So many wonderful local businesses and company freely gave their goods and services to be raffled off. And like Jack said, "that makes me want to do business with those people."
Besides the raffle, the event offered several hilarious comedy acts, great company, and a tribute slideshow of survivors, fighters and sadly many who have lost their lives to this horrific disease. I got choked up several times throughout the slideshow, just thinking about my Momaw Bertie and her current fight with breast cancer. About my last visit with her this summer, wondering if it might be my last. I thought about Momaw Grace, who lost her battle years ago, and about so many friends and family members who've been affected in large and small ways.
If you've never been to a Crack Up Cancer event, please reach out to Jack and Brittany and get on the list to be notified next year. Or watch my blog for updates next summer/fall. You won't want to miss this.
Cure on Wheels also holds two annual bike challenges to raise additional funds (this one and this one). You can join in or learn more about this amazing, all-volunteer group of survivors, fighters and supporters at www.cureonwheels.org. Makes me want to grab my kids and our bikes and join them!