Coming back to New York has been wonderful: terrifying, challenging, and exhilarating. Of course, my physical limitations still need managing. In New York, that means hiring live-in personal care assistants who can help me eat, groom, set-up and keep house. I maintain my wheelchair accessible van and pay for extra physical therapy and specialized medical care not covered by insurance. That’s why these amazing fundraisers in the last months have been extremely important:
In September, Kasia Jarosz (of Photo Affair Studio) and Anna Jablonowski (of First Generation American and Connect.Inspire.Grow) organized an amazing gallery fundraiser for the Trust. Generous, dedicated sponsors made it happen and impressive, inspiring artists made it a success. Artists included Cristy Corso, Greg Giesking, Vesna Jovanovic, Agnieszka Kubiak, and Kacper Skowron. The event was live-streamed by ArTV Chicago and I made a Skype appearance. There are some beautiful photos. Not only did the event bring significant funds to the Trust, I also received a huge painting of Greg Giesking’s, delivered to NY gratis by DOMA Shipping. What a night!
In the meantime, under the leadership of Agata Marcinkowska, the ladies of “Teas for Alex” have continued their monthly adventures, camaraderie, and support. This delightful group of women (and their husbands!) have been exploring the Chicagoland area together since January 2012, using their monthly trips and themed get-togethers as mini fundraising events. I love that, in some small way, the Trust fundraising has strengthened friendships and helped forge new ones. Just look at how much fun they’re having!
The many generous parishioners of the Churches of Saint Helen, Saint James, Saint Ferdinand, Holy Trinity, Saint Ladislaus, Saint William, Saint Constance, Saint Hyacinth Basilica, and the Messanger of the Sacred Heart Polish Jesuit Sanctuary have really been awe-inspiring. Led by our energetic fund-raisers Antonina Szymanik and Elzbieta Niechcial, they have responded to our request for help with a generous spirit truly embodying Christian teachings. I am humbled by the many prayers and donations.
Last year, I visited my fifth-grade teacher’s classroom at North Elementary School to chat with her students about the importance of going to school, reading, and following our dreams (check out my report and video!). Mrs. Clifford has continued to involve her students in my life – this year, I got an amazing set of good luck notes before my final exams. They were sincere, funny, and – of course – motivating! Next time I’m in Chicago, I’ll definitely be stopping by again.
Great support has also come from Poland. Thanks to the efforts of my friends Magda and Adam Krol, who set up an account with the Avalon Foundation, I now can receive 1% of the taxes of those who opt-in. Friends, family, and countless thoughtful strangers contributed to this fund last year – and the fundraising continues this year! DETAILS HERE!
Beyond these specific fundraisers and events, I have received donations and letters of support from many generous individuals, most of whom I haven’t seen in years, or never even met. During the Holidays, our house was filled with beautiful Christmas wishes and the many notes of support have not stopped coming. Although I haven’t responded to each one, I do scan all of them so it’s easy for me to revisit all the kind words.
The thrill, challenge, and exhilaration of New York has other costs. Sometimes, I’m tired, discouraged, a little depressed. Then I remember that every contribution to the Trust is also a vote of confidence – I can get over that discouragement and keep on keeping on.