Mill Foundation Dance

We had the pleasure of attending the 2012 Shamrockin for the Kids event. The The Mill Foundation for Kids is a local organization that raises funds for toys to be donated to local hospitals as well as fund research to eradicate pediatric disease.

We actually know quite a few people involved with this organization through town and the club, but hadn’t really been involved in it.

Olivia was nervous before we went and actually cried that she was going to mess up. I reminded her again that unless she tells them her name is Sally, she’s 16 and is a breast cancer survivor – she can’t mess up . I had told her there would be 200+ people there and there were actually 550+. (whoops!) She knew that she had a choice to not speak, but chose at the last minute to talk.

What an AMAZING EVENING! It’s a casual event in that you wear “green and jeans”. (Maddie was THRILLED with that!) My sister goes every year but she was down with the stomach bug, so my parents came in her place. The event was held at the Aqua Turf Club which is always a great time and CLOSE (5 minutes down the road).

When we arrived, we had our friend Buffy introduce us to all the folks on the foundation board. They were so happy to have us, and we were SO THRILLED to be there. My dad walks in, grabs Olivia and walks off with her. He comes back and tells me he met someone who had “heard Olivia speak before, and that’s why they requested her”. Seriously, she’s 7. It made me laugh though.

The Mill Foundation was so kind and had gifts for both Olivia & Maddie. That they recognize that this is just as hard (if not harder) on the siblings, was so nice of them. I know Maddie truly appreciated being remembered.

We were seated with the Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer at the hospital (Theresa). This was our first time meeting her, as we typically see the president of the Medical Center at events. We were also seated with the Above & Beyond award winner for CT Children’s. This is a special award The Mill Foundation presents to someone from each of the hospitals they work with (Yale, CT Children’s, Hospital of Central CT, Children’s Hospital of Boston and Dana Farber).

They had a cocktail hour with a cheese table and open bar. Right before dinner we got up to speak. Olivia did GREAT and even paused when she was supposed to (after saying “I was born with half a heart”). I thought my speech was probably the best written one I’ve given. I really focused on what the organization is about and how Olivia benefited from what they’re doing. I sped through it though. It’s a lot harder when you know people there (and there were a LOT of people there that we knew!). I had sweaty palms and a stomach ache prior. NERVOUS!

So it went well. We sat down and had dinner (salad, pasta, then family style chicken, roast beef, carrots & mashed potatoes). There was a silent auction. After dinner we danced and danced. This was the first event where the girls were done and ready to go home before US! I said to Arnie “we need to get these kids home before they call DCF on us that we’re keeping them out so late”. Not 5 minutes after I said that, they asked to go home.

So many people came up to us, introduced themselves and thanked us for speaking. They complimented Olivia on her speaking and Maddie on being a great big sister. There were school families there who came up and said “I had NO IDEA” to which I cheered internally for myself, because I feel like maybe I talk about it too much. If they didn’t know, I’m doing an ok job with not over-sharing.