I was eight the first time I saw Field of Dreams.
I was eight the first time I saw my father cry.
It was no coincidence.
Sniffling, wiping tears from his eyes, my father explained that the movie reminded him of his father.
I was 22 the last time I saw my father cry. He called my mom, my sister and then me into the living room. He spoke softly. Something about cancer. And then there were misty eyes. And then words. And then tears mixed with the words and then the words sounded like tears and then the crying wasn’t for some movie that reminded my dad of his dad. It was for my dad.
That was exactly ten years ago today. We haven’t had much time for tears since then. Too many chemo infusions and IRONMAN competitions. My dad took charge of the former while I worked on the latter. By the end of 2012, “Team Poppy Tony” had raised $45,000 for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (the MMRF), which continues to play a key role in the research and development of my father’s treatments.
This January, I wanted to celebrate 10 years of my father’s cancer-fighting courage and optimism with something new. I wanted to design an event that would be as fun as it was fundraising. And just like that, Team Poppy Fest was born.
After nailing down a venue, I wrote letters to triathlon companies to request donations for the raffle. Within a few weeks, my mailbox overflowed with gift cards, triathlon gear, and cycling gloves. Sunglasses multiplied, backpacks had babies. Soon, my bedroom doubled as a prize storage unit.
On January 17th, nearly 300 (!!!) folks piled into Bailey’s Pub to win some fan-freakin’-tastic prizes. And by the end of the night, we had raised $13,000 for blood cancer research.
At one point during the night, I thought of that old Field of Dreams quip. “If you build it, (they) will come.” Many thanks to the generous prize donors who helped us build it, and to all of those who came.
Click here to see more pictures from our lovely photographer, Beth Sullins.
GIVING THANKS TO OUR WONDERFUL PRIZE DONORS:
- Tri360, the title sponsor, for donating a HOT Felt F4 Road Bike
- Nelson and Kate Morse, for sharing their tips of the trade
- Bailey’s Pub
- The Training Cave
- Kurt and Laura Kunoth
- Pearl Izumi
- Setup Events
- Garrett County Gran Fondo
- Bike Arlington
- Georgetown Productions
- Coach AJ Morrison of Multisport in Motion
- Revolve Fitness
- Gillian McNally and Mary Kay
- Nathan Sports
- Pacers Running Store
- Potomac River Running
- Uncle Julio’s
- Cheesecake Factory
- The Melting Pot of Arlington
- Great American Restaurants