A Year to Pause

In 2010, the Brave Will Foundation started as a tribute to our son Will. The loss of our son left such a void in our lives, we desperately sought out a way to steer our tragedy into something positive. Our belief at that time, and still today, is that any child and family facing unimaginable obstacles deserve every opportunity to live their lives to the fullest…We simply wanted to be the catalyst to provide hope for them.

Since that time, our story has been joined by so many other stories. We have watched in awe as Will Power has spread to so many parts of our region. Children and families have made the most of every month, every day and every minute they spend together. What was once the story of a little baby boy is now the story of hundreds of children fighting each and every day. Their stories are representative of the Brave Will Foundation and the goals we continue to seek.

Your support has allowed this foundation to achieve so much in such a short amount of time. Never, in our wildest imagination, could we have envisioned accomplishing what we have successfully attained in just seven years…And it’s all because of all of you. You have driven the Brave Will Foundation to heights never dreamed. You have motivated us to be in a position where we would never have to say “No” and we never have.

But now is a time to pause and reflect. We have been moving so fast for the past seven years, we need to catch our breath and think about what is next for the Brave Will Foundation. To that end, we have decided to not host An Evening of Will Power in 2017. Instead, we will take the year to look back on all that has been done and look forward to what is left to accomplish. This is the not the end of our foundation. We will still be fundraising throughout the year, albeit more passively than actively. We hope that in lieu of buying tickets, new dresses and raffle tickets this year, you will consider making a donation instead to allow us to continue supporting children in need throughout the year.

7th Annual Evening of Will Power Raises Over $92,000

005The 7th Annual Evening of Will Power was once again an incredible success as we were, with the support of so many attendees, sponsors, and volunteers, able to raise over $92,000 in support of the mission and goals of the Brave Will Foundation. We are so blessed to be surrounded by so many caring individuals who have chosen to stand beside us as we attempt to make a difference in the lives of children with life threatening illnesses and their families.

As in years past, the money raised at our event this year will continue to be used to support the three primary goals the Brave Will Foundation has set:

  • Financial support for the Journeys Program at Albany Medical Center: This program provides pediatric palliative care support for children with terminal and chronic illness. This support also extends to family members. The program aligns patient and family needs with appropriate hospital caregivers to ensure that proper care is being received. To date, we have donated $205,000 in support of this amazing program.
  • Project SOAR: Our SOAR program provides funding for families on the first anniversary of a child’s passing. SOAR allows families to spend that anniversary day doing something memorable with the entire family in honor of their child. We are truly turning a day that many families dread into a day that honors their child and creates new memories.
  • Pediatric Palliative Care Suite at Albany Medical Center: This year, the Pediatric Palliative Care Suite, known as the Brave Will Room, that we funded was opened at the Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center. Now that the space has been constructed and is in use, we will continue to provide financial support for the families that utilize the space including providing meals, everyday comforts, linens, decor for the room, and whatever else the families need to have comfort and peace.

We would encourage you to watch the amazing video that was produced for our gala this year which features the courageous story of Shawn Bredice and his parents Barry and Sue. Their story truly defines all that we have set out to achieve as a foundation.

Lastly, if you attended the event, please be sure to check out our photo gallery to see the many highlights from the evening.

 

Monday is the Last Day to Get Tickets

Just a quick reminder that Monday, May 9th is the last day to get tickets for the 7th Annual Evening of Will Power to be held on Saturday, May 14th. Tickets can purchased online on our gala webpage.

We hope you can join us at this special event that will feature live music, open bar, casino games, over 60 raffle prize opportunities, and so much more. This is simply not an event to be missed!

We’ll see you on May 14th!

Less Than One Week Left to Buy Tickets and Save!

There is still time to purchase your tickets for the gala and save. Through April 15th, you can purchase tickets for the discounted price of $110. After April 16th, the cost will increase to the regular price of $125. So don’t hesitate and get your tickets today by visiting the gala page of our website.

After April 15th, tickets will still remain on sale for the regular price until May 9th. So while there is still plenty of time to get your tickets to this amazing event, there’s only a few days left to save a little money and keep a few extra dollars in your pocket to spend on raffles the night of the event.

See you on May 14th!

7th Annual Evening of Will Power – Registration is now Open!

The Brave Will Foundation is pleased to announce its 7th Annual Evening of Will Power will be held on Saturday, May 14th from 6:30-11:30 at the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, NY. This is always, by far, our biggest fundraising effort of the year, and we are always so moved by the tremendous show of support that is present every year. In the first five years of the event, the foundation has raised nearly $500,000 in support of pediatric palliative care efforts in the Greater Capital Region. The event continues to grow and grow every year, as nearly 400 people were in attendance last year.

Tickets for the event are now available for purchase online on the gala page of our website. As with every year, the event is sure to be a memorable evening featuring live music from 2096, casino games, a number of great raffle prizes, catering by Spring Street Deli and Catering, open bar, and so much more. If you’ve attended a gala in past years, you know that this event is always a great time for an even greater cause. If you haven’t had a chance to attend, now is the time to put May 14th on your calendar and be part of an event that continues to be the highlight of our year. It’s a wonderful opportunity to dress up, make plans with friends and spend the evening Celebrating Will Power!

To register for this amazing event, visit www.bravewill.org/gala today!

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!

Not Your Typical Tuesday in July

20150715_190803Tuesday, July 14th, 2015 will forever be remembered as a historical day for the Brave Will Foundation. Not only was it Will’s 7th birthday (and our niece Michaela’s 18th birthday!), which is always a bittersweet, yet special day for our family, but it was also Brave Will Day at Albany Medical Center, a day that turned out to be an amazing, emotional, awe-inspiring day.

DSC_0988As is tradition for our foundation, we started the day by hosting an ice cream social at the Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center. It truly is one of the highlights of our year as we scoop ice cream for the children, family, and staff at Albany Med. To see a child’s face light up as they load the toppings on an ice cream sundae and for a moment, feel like a “regular” kid again is as good as it gets. It’s also a chance for our board members and our families to give back to the great staff at the Children’s Hospital who work so hard each and every day.DSC_0989

 

11227534_1016701371676311_6227607166435618126_oWhile we were serving ice cream, we took a quick break to officially cut the ribbon on the Brave Will Room–our dream finally became a reality. Three years ago, we committed $100,000 to have the room built and yesterday, we all got to stand in the space and see it for the first time. We were amazed by the little touches and details that will make the space so vitally important for children and families that are receiving palliative care.

After the ice cream social, we headed over to the Hilton Garden Inn across the street to take part in a ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of the Brave Will Room. We were touched to here the words of the hospital staff who have meant so much to us over the past six years. We were also able to hear first-hand from a mother whose son was one of the first to use the room. She displayed such courage and strength in telling us about how important that room was to her son and her family. There is no doubt that this room was much needed at the hospital. She also presented the foundation with a $5,000 donation, a stunning display of unexpected generosity. We are so happy that we are in a position to help these families and will continue to do so as they use the space.

DSC_1032Finally, to top off the night, we made a $50,000 donation to the Journeys program at Albany Medical Center, a program that is at the heart of our mission. This program does so much for children that are fighting life-threatening and life-altering illnesses and it’s a program that just continues to grow and grow. We are so happy to be financial supporter of this program as we have now contributed over $200,000 in the last five years.

Such an amazing day sparked by the spirit of an amazing little boy. To know that Brave Will’s legacy is permanently cemented at the hospital, a place he called home for five months, is such an honor. As we said in our speech yesterday,

You have accomplished more in your short time than we could ever have dreamed of in our entire lives. Thank you for allowing your mother and I an opportunity to find a purpose in all that we have gone through and for continuing to spark us to do more. We hope that this present we gave you today will make you as proud of us as we are of you.

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6th Annual Evening of Will Power Raises $95,000!

We are pleased to announce that the 6th Annual Evening of Will Power held on May 2nd at the National Museum of Dance raised $95,000 in support of pediatric palliative care efforts in our region. We continue to be blessed by the support of so many people that enable this event to continue to be such an overwhelming success. Our total this year surpassed last year’s event and our attendance continues to rise as we were surrounded by roughly 400 of the most generous and supportive guests you could ask for.

The event, like it is every year, was a wonderful evening for all–live music, dancing, casino games, raffle prizes, an abundance of food and desserts and so much more. Thank you to all of our event sponsors for making the evening so memorable. Your generosity will not be forgotten! Because of these event sponsors, we are able to do more and more each year to make the evening so unique. Once again, we would like to thank our title sponsors, distinguished sponsors, special patrons, Will Power Promoters, and all of our guests. None of this happens without your support. Our success depends solely on your willingness to give and give.

We were thrilled to announce the creation of an “Every Day Counts” fund that will be used to support families that don’t fit into one the three traditional ways we provide support. This fund will help ensure that we never have to say no to a family in need. Our special call to action at the gala raised over $18,000 to build this fund!

If you attended the event and stop by the photo booth, please visit Clark+Walker Studio and look for your photo on their special gala web page. Any picture on the page can be downloaded for free. Just use the pin number 1613 to download. In addition, if you would like to order any prints, the studio is offering a 20% discount on any order when you use the code “BraveWillGala20”. Additional pictures from the event are coming soon and will be posted on our site.

To all who attended, sponsored, supported and gave, we simply cannot thank you enough for what you have helped us accomplish.

Deadline to Purchase Gala Tickets is Extended

You are in luck! The deadline to get your gala tickets has been extended through April 27th. So you still have a week left to reserve your spot at one of the most important charitable events of the year–the 6th Annual Evening of Will Power on May 2 at the National Museum of Dance. Come join us and enjoy live music, dancing, casino games, amazing raffles and so much more. We guarantee that the night will not leave you disappointed and you will absolutely play a part in supporting a cause that is truly having an impact on children with life threatening illnesses and their families.

Get your tickets today by visiting our Gala 2015 web page.

One Week Left to get Discounted Tickets

Tickets for the 6th Annual Evening of Will Power will be available for another month, but there is just one week left to get your tickets at the discounted rate of $110. On April 1st, the cost of tickets will increase to $125, so get your tickets today and save!

The gala will be held on Saturday, May 2nd from 6:30-11:30 at the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs.

We look forward to seeing you all on May 2nd!