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The Virginia Beach boardwalk was filled on Saturday April 18, 2015 as hundreds of people seen wearing leis, grass skirts, and even coconut bras joined together to participate in the 3rd annual FARA FEST Lei Day 5k & Flip Flop 1 mile to benefit the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA). The event has more than quadrupled in size during its three short years and has raised nearly $100,000 for FARA. There were just over 500 runners for the 5K and nearly 200 for the 1 mile. There were another hundred or more in attendance as well between volunteers and spectators. 

Anytime Fitness Golf Tournament

We were up bright and early on April 11, 2015 as we started off the day at the 7th Annual Anytime Fitness Golf Scramble hosted by Dave LaGree, the owner of several Anytime Fitness locations in the Palm Harbor Florida area.  The event was a great success.  As usual, Dave and his Anytime Fitness colleagues put together another amazing event to raise money for  FARA, Suncoast Animal League and the Wounded Warrior Project. 

In the morning, coffee and bagels were donated by Pickles Plus, while many of the golfers were signing in and waiting for the other participants to arrive.  Once everyone arrived, Dave started off the Scramble with motivating announcements followed by a man playing the bagpipes to send off the golfers.

Everyone enjoyed a full day of golfing, drinking, and eating (although not necessarily in that order!).  Afterwards, the golfers went back to the club house for a great dinner from Southern Steer Butcher, with sides and salad donated by Little Greek and Sugardarlings delicious cupcakes.  There were various drawings and a table full of silent auction items.

This is my fourth year photographing the Anytime Fitness Golf Scramble and every year I’m amazed to see the love and support provided to raise awareness for FARA and the Suncoast Animal League. 

I was proud to be a part this year’s event and I’m looking forward to doing it again in 2016!

Together we’re kickin FA!

Ride Ataxia Dallas 2015

Ride Ataxia Dallas 2015 was on April 12 at the University of North Texas. The weather was absolutely perfect for the 500 cyclists. The amazing FA community raised over $140,000 for FA research!  Together we will cure FA!

Every spring, I look forward to traveling down to Denton, TX for Ride Ataxia. I get to see friends and FAmily that I don't get to see very often. I was worried about the weather when I looked a week before the ride. There was a 70% chance of rain! The chance decreased as the week went on, but my family still packed our raincoats and umbrellas just in case!

Masquerade Where Wishes Come True

On March 28, we rolled out the "purple" carpet for the third annual Masquerade to CureFA.  This year's theme was "Where Wishes Come True" and everyone knows what our wish is.... to find a CURE.  It was a fairy tale setting with the horse drawn carriage and Cinderella dresses.  Anna's Army & the students at Parkersburg South have been very supportive of Anna, since her diagnosis of FA in August of 2012. I always get a bit emotional when I see the support from the beautiful girls parading in their elegant gowns and bedazzled sneakers.  They know Anna can't wear heels, so neither will they.  

It was two celebrations in one as Anna celebrated her 18th birthday.  Her best present was a surprise visit from our FAmily member, Ashley Sharp Dodson. Ashley & her cousin Cara Campbell drove all night from Alabama to West Virginia for the surprise.  Since only I knew they were coming, I  arranged for Ashley to  be at the beauty shop getting her hair & make up done when Anna came in to have hers done.  Mission accomplished! The girls got beatified and Anna was surprised all at the same time. The girls had a blast and the fun filled night had not even begun.

Cure Us Portland

Night I Will Never Forget. When my friend, Michelle Huebner Krause, approached me about a year ago with her and her fiancé’s idea for a fundraiser, I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. A dinner and live auction? How would we do it? How would we gain support from the community and people who had never heard of FA? Well, with determination and hard-work, I’ve learned great things are possible. I was so proud of Michelle, Jason, and the entire Cure Us committee when I walked in to Portland, Oregon’s Crystal Ballroom on that Saturday night, March 7, 2015. I cannot put into words the beauty I saw. From the flowers and table settings to the twinkling lights, the room could not have looked more amazing. The entertainment was beyond engaging, with charming emcees, live musical performances, and heartfelt committee speeches. 

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