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June 23, 2011

Poker Tourney and Press

This week was pretty much the last big week we can really expect before everything wraps up on July 17th. And a pretty big week it turned out to be. The two main things were the poker tournament which was expected to yield a few thousand but nothing huge, and the increased press which was huge for awareness of Intestinal Fortitude and CCFA.

The increased press is the links below in beautifully written articles by Vicki-Ann Downing of the Brockton Enterprise and Ross Muscato of the Easton Patch. This was huge not only for awareness of the poker tournament last week, not only for Intestinal Fortitude, but most importantly for awareness of CCFA. Crohn's and Colitis are not heard about all that often but for them to be heard about in the media is great.

Brockton Enterprise News Article

Easton Patch Article

Speaking of raising awareness for CCFA, the poker tournament definitely did that. A couple weeks ago we were struggling with number of participants for the poker tournament. However, the crew of Tim Savard, Walter Mirrione, Richard Brooks, and Jimmy Anastasi helped spread the word even by means of putting flyers around the town. Other big thanks go out to Jim Messinger for drinks which led to a successful cash bar and Raegan Avidon and her crew of bartenders who served all night. Also, Mario Sanfilippio, owner of Porticello and Mario's generously donated a pasta dinner. My parents were also a great help all night.

Tim Savard started the idea at Stoneforge Grille one night, but no one thought it would really be all that successful in such a limited amount of time. Did he and his group prove us wrong or what by getting over 90 participants. As I mentioned earlier, this increased awareness because I didn't recognize at least half the people there. The goal was to hit a different demographic and it definitely did that. I went over to see the place around 2pm and the place looked great with the 10 main tables ($100 buy-in) set up and the one high stakes table ($1,000 buy-in) also set up as well as a blackjack table ($500 buy-in). I wanted to congratulate the winners. Some were incredibly generous by donating a portion back which is unreal and definitely didn't have to be done.

Other great ideas were to have a 50/50 raffle. The biggest thanks of the night goes out to Team New England honoree and close friend, Timmy Wright and his mother Kouri, who did a fantastic job helping out with this. His presence was enough but he was running around the whole night trying to sell as many raffle tickets as he could donning his Bruins hat. To be honest, without Timmy's meticulous counting and running around we probably would have earned very little from the 50/50 raffle, however, he collected over $1,000. Everyone idolized the courageous young man that night.

Another great idea of the night was to have a mini fundraiser at the actual event. If a certain amount was raised, a couple close friends agreed to match whatever was raised. After everything was said and done for the night, we ended up raising a whopping $20,700! This was almost as much as the L O C O event and over double what anyone expected. For such little time, this was an incredible final event of the year and will defnitely be annual. And to think we had two events that yielded over $20,000 apiece is unfathomable.

I also want to thank my friends Stephen Ivanoski, Tim Gilbert, and Kevin Day for running a few errands that night and helping out around the place. While I'm on the topic, Stephen "Ivo" Ivanoski who is running the July 17th Napa half marathon has been training like crazy as of late. He did a long run around the Charles before the event with Kevin and I could visibly see he was sore. I really am just happy he is joining us in Napa, but to see him work so hard and enjoy the benefits of running is an awesome win-win situation for everyone. As a hard-working student at Pharmacy school I also didn't expect him to raise anything for Intestinal Fortitude. However, he has been doing unreal on that front as well by contacting everyone he knows, even though he just did a fundraiser for his fraternity. He's been going above and beyond which confirms the reason I chose him to come along for Napa.

My running has been a bit subpar as of late. I'm still working on the biomechanics/alignment of ankles/lower back and am only at about 30 miles of base training. I think I'm making a turn for the better (knock on wood) as I'm almost fully adjusted to the move-in to New York City at an internship and taking a course. The half-marathon is creeping up so hopefully I can get a solid month of training before heading to Napa.

As there is less than a month of fundraising, I want to give my first of many final thanks. We will most likely make a last push and try to kick in a few more dollars here and there, but the hard work is behind us (besides that final 13.1 miles Ivo and I will be doing). It's been an incredible ride. In the inaugural year, we surpassed any expectations. Personally, I passed my marathon-running abilities, as I received a second wind of motivation in my running career. As a group, we surprised ourselves time and time again with the amount we were raising. We've met some incredible people and came closer as a committee of roughly 20 people. We had disagreements but had some of the best times of our lives. This has been the most incredible journey of my life and by those last few sentences, you'd have no idea I was talking about a fundraising campaign that I was oblivious to less than a year ago. Throughout everything that has happened, it is obvious a cure is around the corner. Thank you everyone, I love you all.

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