Tomorrow Tara and I head down to Foxwoods to be a part of the Greg Hill Foundation’s Celebrity Golf Tournament. I have no idea what to expect, but I’m so thankful to have Tara by my side for this adventure. Parker is traveling and it has been a tough couple of nights by myself.
Let me backtrack a little here, because I realize that I have left out a lot of information concerning the Greg Hill Foundation. After the accident occurred, two of our close friends contacted the Greg Hill Foundation which was started by a local DJ to respond to families in need or crisis. Sure, I had heard the on air fundraisers that they held and I remember listening after the Marathon Bombings as they raised a staggering amount of money. I never dreamed that they would be holding a fundraiser for my family.
Exactly a week after the accident, WAAF and the Greg Hill Foundation reached out to their listeners and asked for monetary donations to help my family. They would match the amount raised, up to a certain dollar amount. It was amazing listening to our name, our story on the radio station. One of Parker’s closest friends called to thank Greg and the listeners on our behalf. It was again proof that there are amazing people out there, strangers that were willing to move mountains to make our lives easier. We never asked for any of this, so it was truly humbling to be a part of. A week later, they dropped off a check for us.
In December, the Greg Hill Foundation held their first ever ‘Jingle All the Way 5K.’ It was a perfect opportunity for us to give back to the foundation that had helped us so much. We signed up, and then reached out to our friends, neighbors and family and before we knew it we had pulled together a team of 30+ amazing individuals, ‘Benny’s Bunch.’ It was bitter cold, about 8 degrees, but we walked/run/shivered along in memory of our dude. Darcy walked every single mile and didn’t complain once, she amazed us all. It was an amazing experience and a great way to try to give back to an organization that had done so much for us. The perfect way to pay tribute to Bennett so soon after his death.
In February, we were asked to join fellow beneficiaries in supporting the foundation in their ‘1,350 Days Celebration.’ I never expected to be sharing the stage with Marathon Bombing survivors. Their strength, humility and humor blew me away. That night was probably one of the most amazing nights of my life. We were in a room surrounded by people that had been through the worst possible moments in their life, yet they smiled, and laughed. There was so much love in that room, it reminded me of the 3 Day walk-on steroids! The one word that comes to mind is hope. Hope for the future, watching these people take what life had thrown at them and just do the best that they could with it. There weren’t any victims in that room, only survivors. It was very empowering.
I read my speech and by the end most of the folks in the room were in tears. So many people came up to us and just wanted to hug us and tell us how sorry they were, complete strangers. One of the Marathon bombing survivors wrote us a check to help out. A friend of Greg’s offered his condo in NH for us to use this summer. Again, complete strangers reaching out to offer us a chance to heal. I’m so accustomed to be jaded by life so watching as this whole thing unfolded, I was never so happy to be so wrong. The world is full of beautiful people doing beautiful things. Unfortunately, the news doesn’t cover that aspect, but trust me, it’s so true.
A few members of the Greg Hill Foundation signed up for the marathon and ran this past year as an homage to the survivors. Our friend Erin ran each mile for a different person. She ran mile 2 for Benny. We were waiting on the sidelines in our Benny’s Bunch shirts cheering the GHF team on. The energy of that day was so great and I’m so glad that Darcy again was able to witness someone she doesn’t know doing something amazing for her family. I want for her to grow up and see people as good.
So, onto tomorrow. I’m excited. I’m nervous. I cannot wait to be amongst these people again. To feel that kind of positive energy as everyone works together towards one collective goal-to raise money for people in the future that will need it. The link to the foundation is below should you want additional information or to make a donation.