Wow! So much has happened since my last blog and I am so excited. I am finally finished (at least for the remainder of the school year) with my ACTs and have more time available to focus on fundraising.
The most exciting event to occur over the past couple of months is that Donald Liebenson, a writer for the Chicago Tribune, called me to interview me regarding the Mr. I Children's Charity. I can't lie, I was very nervous to talk to him, but once we began talking, I was fine. Moreover, on April 14, 2016, the article was published online, and last week, it was in newspapers around Chicagoland! Since it was published, we've received interest from organizations from all over the country requesting information on how their organizations can help Mr. I raise money to deliver bears to their local children's hospitals, as well as from specific organizations interested in receiving bears for their pediatric clients! This was my goal...to help grow Mr. I and find ways to help children all over the country feel safe and happy while undergoing scary or nerve-wracking medical tests and procedures. Now, the goal is to find ways to continue to raise money so that we can keep supplying the bears to hospitals near my home and throughout the country.
I was also interviewed last week by a writer for Medical Dealer Magazine. He is writing an article about "paying it forward" and I hope that will spread the word about Mr. I in the medical community.
In order to continue fundraising, I have created a board consisting of my close friends. The response, when I asked them if they would be interested in contributing their time and energy to fundraising, was overwhelming and very heart-warming. I have the greatest friends and they gathered at my house to brainstorm ways we can raise money and bring awareness to our community about what Mr. I does and what it is. We are hoping to have a car wash this spring and then a flag football event in the fall. Additionally, my mom and I (and I think my board) will be interviewed this Sunday by WDHS, my high school's TV station. Hopefully, these efforts will not only bring awareness to Mr. I, but will also raise money for more bears. If anyone reads this and would like to raise money for Mr. I, feel free to contact me through email.
Also, we are going to join Lurie's Circle of Friends and be linked to their facebook page, as well as Comer's "Give to Medicine" and their Facebook page. I hope that doing so will help bring awareness to organizations and supporters of those hospitals who are looking for ways to help create better lives for sick children.
Most importantly, Lurie, Comer, Evanston and Lake Forest's patients love their Mr. I Bears. I have received emails and letters from all of the hospitals saying how much joy the bears are bringing to the children in their hospitals, and that makes all of this SO worth it!!!!
I will write more soon, but if you read this and think of ways that you or we can raise more money to continue donating bears, I am always open to suggestions! Thanks again for all of your support!!!!
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Matthew Newman, Co-Director of Mr. I Children's Charity