The Piratess Tilly Book Launch and Cure SPG47 Fundraiser on Saturday, May 13th, 2017 was a beautiful success. The location could not have been more appropriate than in the “Hall of Ships” at the Custom House Maritime Museum in Newburyport, a room in which a painting of ship Tennyson hangs proudly. For it is this ship that a woman – Mary Newton Lunt Graves – in 1860 took control and safely brought it to port when her husband, Captain Alexander Graves, became disabled. How could we not launch Piratess Tilly’s second girl-empowering sea adventure in this maritime museum with such inspiring historical stories!
The Custom House Maritime Museum itself was so generous with their support that admission was free for the length of the event! Guests got to not only get their books signed, work on a book related craft (coloring pages and a paper hang glider), grab an organic lollipop, watch the slide show of the book itself, and browse the overflowing totes for the raffle, but they also got the chance to peruse the museum and soak in a dose of history.
I would like to take a moment to thank Newburyport Montessori School because it was there that I first met Kasey Edwards and her two children, Davis and Robbie. Kasey is the kind of person who radiates love, patience, strength, and perseverance. I am in awe of her grace and determination. I encourage you to follow their story on Curespg47.org and on their Facebook page. Their fundraising journey to study and, hopefully, find a cure for hereditary spastic paraplegia, type 47 has just started and I am thrilled to be writing them a check that includes nearly 100 book sale proceeds and raffle ticket sales of $1,858. Siga Snipas and Gretchen Stone of Bean Group will be writing them their own checks ($5/book sold at the event) for a grand total of $2,233! No doubt Piratess Tilly and koala Yuki are just as proud!
When I first had the idea exactly 2 months prior, I had no idea how generous and encouraging Newburyport shops, businesses, and friends would be in supporting the book launch and Cure SPG47 fundraiser. From newburyport.com sharing the story, to a childhood best friend flying from Seattle, to Siga Snipas and Gretchen Stone of Bean Group jointly pledging $5 per book sold, I feel truly fortunate and grateful – it was a magical morning and experience. As a keepsake for those who attended the event and even for those supported Cure SPG47 through online book sales that week, people received a double-sided bookmark featuring the businesses that contributed and only made complete by an added red ribbon tassel!
From the moment the party started until shortly after the raffle drawing, there was a wonderful and continuous line of families wanting books and raffle tickets, but one family I will always remember, for they are related to another child in Seattle who also has hereditary spastic paraplegia, type 47. Signing the Piratess Tilly books in her honor was truly special.
As a child, I had watched my mother organize rather grand fundraisers. It was particularly meaningful for me to have my own young daughter see the work and passion it takes, no matter the scale, to orchestrate a successful fundraising event. And I couldn’t think of a better way to include the children related to myself and the Edwards family than by having them draw the winning raffle tickets!