The Strength of Will Power

will_blanketIt’s been far too long since we’ve touched base, but it is fitting that we send some updates during this time of year. On Saturday, it will be seven years (!) since we said goodbye to our little Will. It’s amazing how quickly the time has passed, yet so many memories of our time with Will are still so fresh and close to our hearts. Fortunately, time has not washed away all that we value and hold on to during the short time Will was in our lives. We still feel blessed every single day that Will’s impact has carved out a place in our minds and hearts that cannot fade. He remains as special to us today as he did back then.

Seven years without Will also means seven years that we’ve been on this new journey as the Brave Will Foundation. His life has fueled us down roads that we never thought conceivable and his story has allowed us to give so many children and families the grace and peace they deserve as they fight their own challenges. While we have continued to look for different ways to support children and families facing unimaginable odds: Our support of the Journeys program at Albany Medical Center, helping families on the first year anniversary of their child’s passing with our SOAR program, and now, giving families the atmosphere they deserve through the use of the Brave Will Room at Albany Medical Center, we have also been able to use this foundation to share Will’s life and spirit. Selfishly, this foundation has allowed us to continue to talk about Will’s story, and we are forever grateful that so many still feel compelled to be touched by the message his life created.

image001When we are the midst of meeting the day to day needs of all those that we can help, it’s easy to forget to truly realize all that we have been able to accomplish in our first six years of a foundation, but it truly is staggering:

  • Funding the creation of the Brave Will Room, a dedicated space at the Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center for children receiving palliative care–a room that will forever bear Will’s name…simply a dream come true for us
  • Nearly $500,000 raised through our various fundraisers…far too many people to thank for their endless support and devotion to all that we have sought to do
  • Over $200,000 donated to the Journeys program…a program that continues to grow in terms of children being supported but also in its ability to provide services
  • Supported two dozen families on the first anniversary of their child’s passing…families that were able to take a day they dreaded and turn it into one that is filled with great memories

Strange to say, but we consider ourselves lucky. Lucky that those that stood by our side starting in September 2008 are still standing by our side today; lucky that we have been given opportunities to support so many children like Will and also support the families who would do anything for their child; lucky that Will’s story has touched so many people that they continue to support us year after year; and lucky that our family is as strong today as it was when Will earned his wings on February 6, 2009.

It will be so appropriate that we will be spending Saturday night cheering on the Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa varsity hockey team as they compete in the 6th annual Brave Will hockey game. The players, coaches, parents, and schools have been so supportive of our efforts. It’s so fitting that Will’s life will be celebrated by kids helping kids on February 6th. It’s what Will’s life has symbolized since he left us. If you would like to join us in Celebrating Will Power at this wonderful event, the game is at 7:30 at the Schenectady County Recreational Facility.

Finally, SAVE THE DATE! Our 7th Annual Evening of Will Power gala will be held on Saturday, May 14th at the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga. Last year, we witnessed the largest crowd ever for this event and every year, it just keeps growing. We are also offering sponsorship opportunities and as always, are looking for donations to contribute to our event. We hope you can join us this year for an unforgettable evening!