Last week our kids’ school, Emblem Elementary in Saugus, held their third Cure Finders fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. For the past three years, the students at Emblem have taken a week to go home, scrounge up change and ask for donations from their parents and others all in the name of CF. Julie is responsible for spearheading the fundraisers and each year has been more successful than the last. The lower and upper grades compete for a pizza party provided by BJ’s Restaurant, who also donate $1000 to the fundraiser should the school raise that much. The spirit of competition aside, all of the kids get involved and really appear to put their hearts into this fundraiser.
I wish I could say that it wasn’t because of us; I wish I could say that this fundraiser would have been organized without our help, but that isn’t the case. This fundraiser was organized for Emblem Elementary because one of their students has cystic fibrosis. I wish that student wasn’t my son.
Each morning children turned in what they had collected and then the money was tallied by Julie and some enthusiastic student council members. As Julie gave me numbers on a daily basis, I was constantly amazed at how much these young people were able to collect. At the end of the week, a school wide walk around the playground capped off the Cure Finders fundraiser. Smoothies were provided by Jamba Juice and raffle prizes were handed out.
To see all of the students and the teachers lined up to walk was inspiring and quite humbling. It’s possible that some kids had no idea why they were allowed to walk around and drink smoothies with their friends for an hour or so, but I don’t believe it, not after the response we got for this fundraiser. Emblem is a school of around 300 children, and in one week those 300 children, their families, and their teachers, raised $4660. Add to that the contribution from BJ’s and they raised an astounding $5660!
As a parent, any time you witness this kind of response by the student body you have to be proud that your son and daughter go to that school. However, when you know that all of these children were responding to help one of their own… to help your child, humble does not begin to describe the feeling that overcomes you. Julie was at the microphone and handled announcing how much money was raised. She had to stop once or twice to regain her composure as tears tried to leak down her cheeks. I was more fortunate in that I could walk away from the crowd and wipe my eyes as she delivered the great news.
$5660. Can you believe that?
As the walk commenced, Sophie, who was manning the PA system, started playing the special CD we had compiled just for that afternoon, the “CF CD,” she titled it. Starting things off was the Glee cast version of Journey classic, “Don’t Stop Believin’”. It does amaze me that Sophie and Jake have started to like this song. Mind you, whenever I tried in the past to play it for them, they were indifferent. But now that Glee has made it impossible to ignore, it’s like the song was written just for them.
Something about the glossy, pop arrangement and the crisp harmonies by the singers really makes the song more optimistic to me. Added to the song are the horns at the end, which always remind me of my marching band days. On that afternoon, as the students of Emblem walked around, many of them singing “Don’t Stop Believin’” I thought what an appropriate song. For isn’t that what these kids were saying to people who suffer from CF and to their families? Isn’t that what they were telling us?
It’s hard, at times, to see the light instead of the darkness. The overwhelming statistics and the heart wrenching videos and blogs on the Internet sometimes offer a grim view of this monster called cystic fibrosis. It’s so easy to get consumed by the sadness that there are days when you forget to look for the positive, to keep believing that a cure is coming.
That Friday afternoon, while the words and music of my favorite 80’s mainstream band, sung by a bunch of TV actors, rang out through the entire neighborhood, I believed and I was proud.