After Molly's symptoms returned from Chiari I Malformation in July, we learned soon after that she would face a second brain surgery. It was devastating to us, but the first surgery went so well and helped so much that we anticipated good things. As you know, things haven't gone very well. But that isn't the point of this post.
Before the second brain surgery was even scheduled we had some folks at our local elementary school (including the principal, office workers, and teachers) told us that they were planning a benefit for Molly. Actually I'm not sure the word "benefit" was used, but they wanted to do some sort of fundraiser to help Molly and our family. This was completely without provocation and without sharing of any family needs by Molly or me or the kids.
Molly has invested much in the local schools and everyone there loves her. Among other things she has served in the Parent Teacher Organization, heads up Market Day sales and distribution, has helped in every classroom of every kid in significant ways, and is the queen of giving scrumptious baked good for every single holiday to all the kids' teachers, the principal, the office workers, even the janitors! Everyone there knows that Molly has no agenda but to love them and appreciate them and bless them and befriend them. And now many of them have become good friends and chose to bless her right back.
After much work on their part they chose to start a "Friends of Molly McCoy" organization and develop a benefit dinner, which took place on October 23rd. They initially hoped to get several hundred dollars to help with gas money and hotel and things like that. But this became bigger than anyone expected.
It started with a few friends at the elementary school. Then new people joined up to organize and pull off the event, including some church members and other school teachers and workers. Danny's teacher served food at the dinner. Elijah's teacher helped organize the whole event and served at it. Jack's teacher helped serve food and even was going around the school days before with a jug for people to donate money. Even a teacher of Sarah's who has been very sick with her first pregnancy was there to serve food. PTO friends served and donated much. Several moms of other students got involved, including the notorious Woodstock "Mommy Mafia." Don't ask.
Everything they needed in planning the event was donated. The local Lutheran church hosted the event for free. The food was all donated, including delicious spaghetti from Papa Saverios in Huntley, IL. The former PTO president had shirts created with Molly's photo printed on it with "Friends of Molly McCoy." All of the workers at the dinner were given a shirt. Our worship leader donated his time to play music during the dinner. People came to set up, tear down, clean up, serve food, prepare dozens and dozens of "take out" orders for those who didn't have time to sit and eat. The event was advertised in many ways including all schools involved passing out event fliers to all parents and putting fliers up around town.
And what all of these friends of Molly did was bring in hundreds of people at $10 a plate ($5 for kids) and a lot more money than anyone expected! It was unbelievable. And there was even a 50/50 raffle that one of the workers won. She immediately gave her 1/2 back to us. We saw church members there, our soccer team , former coaches from baseball teams, people from Molly's gym, the McHenry County College basketball team (coach is the elementary school gym teacher), and many others from various areas of life.
Today the three key organizers of the benefit from the elementary school came by and gave us a check for well over anything any of us expected. We are just blown away, and I think they are too.
Add to all this a few other things I don't want to fail to mention. We have continued to get meals by church and community friends on a regular basis. Joe Thorn's church provided three big coolers full of frozen meals and a bunch of money for food. We have also received money prior to and after the surgery from church members, community friends, parents of church members, people we don't really know, and our mechanic. We've had a couple of teachers pay to have our house cleaned, which is going to happen soon. Elijah's soccer coach helped organize donations through the soccer league. They collected much of it from team parents and a paint jug with Molly's name on it. Again, unbelievable.
We know we probably missed some things we could mention here. This isn't so much our "thank you" to those involved, though we say THANK YOU!, and are trying to do that in person and through personal notes. This post is a public expression of gratitude to God for what He has done. He has shown his blessing and grace in remarkable ways these last several weeks. And I want to end by saying that I have learned about how to be invested in a community of people through my wife more than anyone. Thanks for your faithfulness to me, our family, our community, and especially our God. I love you.