Tag Archives: volunteering

Classin’ it up for Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis

I mentioned before that I attended the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation’s gala last week. I’ve been meaning to write about what a great experience it was, but I’m actually getting ready for a trip to Florida tomorrow, so I’ve had a lot of stuff packed into a short week and haven’t had the chance. So I’m catching up now!

Jarrod and Stephanie Hughes crohn's colitis foundation ccfa gourmet gala stolen colon ostomy blogFirst of all, I love events where I get to dress up a little more than normal (and when I can convince Jarrod to get dressed up, too!) Secondly, I love any way that I can support the Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis community, so this was the perfect opportunity!

I worked previously with our local CCFA representative on the Take Steps Walk earlier this year, so we’ve kept in touch. Last minute, her group of volunteers had to pull out because their daughter ended up having to go to the hospital due to a flare up, so she asked if I could help with some of the set up. We met up first thing that morning to transport everything over to the venue and get everything ready for the silent auction. That’s a much bigger task than it sounds!

We had to get nearly 100 different auction items set up all around the room, trying to spread items out and make it look nice, too. Then we had to number all of the items and make lists for it all. It took a long time, but we finally got it to where everything looked really lovely and well organized. I ended up staying until about 2:00, but had to leave then to have enough time to get ready and head back for the start of the event at 5:30.

We attended the Gourmet Gala with my sister and her husband and we shared a table with a friend of mine from the Take Steps Walk and her family. Since I was there to help set up, I was able to snag us a good table near the food!
gourmet gala ccfa crohn's colitis foundation event silent auction dinner stephanie hughes stolen colon ostomy blogThe event itself was beautiful. It was a lot of fun getting to see some old friends that I didn’t necessarily expect to see. But unfortunately, I got out-bid on all of my auction items.

The food was delicious! There were 15 different restaurants that were set up with appetizers and small dishes and desserts. I definitely ate too much, but how can you not when presented with so many amazing options?

On top of the silent auction, they always hold a live auction after dinner. The spokesperson for the night was John Forslund, who is the TV announcer for the Carolina Hurricanes. He introduced the Youth Ambassador for the evening, 11-year-old Gavin, who talked about what it’s like being a kid living with Crohn’s. (You can actually hear some of his speech on Youtube.) It reminded me of what it was like for me being about his age when I was first diagnosed. I don’t think I would have been brave enough to talk about it in front of 220 people though!

All in all, it was a great event and I’m glad that I was able to both help out and get to enjoy the evening with my family and friends. The event raised over $42,000 to go towards research on Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and towards programs to help those of us living with these diseases! I’m also proud to be a part of a community that cares enough to pull off an event like this. I encourage you to attend or volunteer at a CCFA event in your area. It has been a very rewarding experience for me.

Take Steps, Be Heard

It has been nearly 24 hours, but I am still exhausted from this weekend. It was so full of events and fundraisers and running and laughter and crying and meeting up with old friends. I am spent. And while I don’t have the time, or the energy, for that matter, to get into everything that happened this weekend, I did want to tell you all a little about the Take Steps for Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis event on Saturday. (And, no, I definitely did not take any pictures… I didn’t even have time to sit down! But thankfully, there are lots of pictures floating around.)

As you may know, I’ve been a part of the planning committee for this walk for about 6 months now. It has been a great experience, but it has also been a lot more work than I had originally anticipated. We have been meeting once a week for more than a month and prior to that it was still every other week. And there was a long list of things that needed to be done on the days in between.

But the event really came together this weekend. My wonderful husband and brother-in-law came out to help set up in the morning. I arrived a little bit later to join in. There was a lot going on, but I CCFA take steps walk crohn's colitis walkers stephanie hughes stolen colon ostomy blogfeel that we all coordinated really well to make sure that things ran smoothly. My parents also came out to help with the walk.

It turned out to be a beautiful day. I kept checking the weather in the days leading up to it and it wasn’t looking too good at one point, but it ended up being warm and sunny and the clouds rolled in just in time to provide some shade for the walk.

CCFA take steps walk crohn's colitis Renee Chou WRAL emcee stephanie hughes stolen colon ostomy blogMy main job for the day was coordinating the “talent.” This meant working with the emcees, speakers and band. I had worked previously to set up things for the emcee. We had the lovely Renee Chou of WRAL join us to kick off the festivities, and radio personality David Wilson to announce the top fundraisers following the walk. Both were wonderful to work with and did a great job. There were a few hiccups along the way, but thankfully, we were able to take care of everything in enough time that I don’t even think anyone else noticed. And let’s be honest, that’s really the goal of any event, no matter how well planned!

I didn’t stop the entire day. Not including everything I did prior in the day, which began at 6 a.m., I was at the walk from 12:30 until about 9:30 that evening. The event itself was wrapped up around 6:30 or so, but then the clean up and tear down begins! It was a lot of work. Events are always easier to put together than they are to tear apart. One-by-one, everyone soon dropped off. It ended up being just me and the local CCFA rep putting the last boxes away and making a final sweep of the area.

Looking back, I know there are things that we could have planned better to make the event go even smoother, but all in all, I think we pulled it off. We had nearly 700 participants who all seemed to have a great time and we raised close to $110,000 that will help fund research to find a cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and promote events for patients of these diseases.

I worked with such a great team on this project. Many of us were new to the event, so there was a bit of a learning curve, but I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. I met some wonderful people who I look forward to working with again in the future. But mostly, it feels good to have accomplished something so big that is going to make such an impact.

CCFA take steps walk cure crohn's stephanie hughes stolen colon ostomy blog

Just call me the Party Planner

It’s been a busy week. It has been filled with events and fundraisers and lots of planning for those events. Last night, we held our “happy hour” event at Top of the Hill. (Many thanks to Top’o for generously allowing us to use their venue and offering us some great incentives.) We had some wonderful friends come join us for food and drinks. It wasn’t quite the event we were hoping for, mostly because, due to time constraints, we weren’t able to publicize it as much as we would have liked. But we still raised several hundred dollars for Team Challenge, so definitely a success in my opinion!

top of the hill eventI’m so mad at myself for not taking any pictures! I only took this one silly one of the table as you walked in and didn’t even think about grabbing any more during the event.

And now, it’s time for more events! I’m going to start tomorrow off at Belk for their Charity Day sale. Hopefully that will help bring in even more for my race. It’s only 5 weeks away and coming quick, and I still have a good ways to go to reach my goal.

Following the Belk sale, I will be heading out the Take Steps Walk on Centennial Campus. I’ve had a really good time working on the event for the past several months. But I’m not going to lie, it has been a lot more work that I hard originally imagined. I definitely had not planned on doing so much all at once. I had planned to join the walk committee and that was it. But then the opportunity with Team Challenge came up and I had already committed to the walk, by that time. I quickly found out that I had taken on too much for my own good, but I wanted to stick with it. It has been a very busy couple of months and all of it has hit an apex this week.

I am excited about the event tomorrow. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun for a good cause. But I am also looking forward to it being done. That means I will actually have some time to relax on focus on my half-marathon and everything else coming up. I would definitely be up for doing a committee like this again, but I need a bit of a break.

But I am ready to go out tomorrow and enjoy the day with a bunch of people who are all fighting for the same thing. And I’ll try to remember to take pictures this time!