Monday, October 27, 2014

2014 Annual Letter

What a difference 6 years makes. 

Six years ago, Laura Somerville Woodall had an  idea that her friends and family could make a real difference in a person’s life.  They were already making a difference in Laura’s  life through  their care, support, and love after her diagnosis with ALS.

Six years ago, Laura asked these friends and family to support her idea. She knew that women out there who have been given devastating news might not have the support system that she had.  These women - these mothers living in our community - would need help to get them through the hardest times.  They would need financial support to help pay for rent, mortgage, electricity bills, medical equipment, and medical bills.  They would need you.  They would need us. 

Six years ago, a seed was planted. 

What started out as a group of 25 friends is now a group of like-minded supporters over 700 strong.  And these are just the ones we know about.  Every dollar stuffed in our donation jar during Davidson Town Day, the Davidson Farmers Market, and other Awareness Month events by people learning of AGSF right at that moment means rent to a grant recipient.  We might not know their names, but they heard what AGSF does  and decided Laura’s idea was worth the investment.

Six years ago, two local mothers were given financial assistance and were able to focus on their health and their families instead of the mounting bills.  And since then, 22 mothers have been given that same opportunity.  In six years, over  $73,000 has helped these families do what Laura intended when she dreamt of this Foundation – focus on the family, focus on getting better and have relief from the financial stress and burden that comes with a debilitating disease.  In 2014, over $21,000 has gone toward mothers like Mrs. S of Charlotte.

Mrs. S., mother of a 14 year old, had already lost her car and home during her second round of breast cancer surgery.  She’s now in treatment for Lymphadema and the financial stress is taking a toll on her health in other ways as well. She has sleepless nights at the fear of losing her home.  Rent or treatment, that’s the choice so many face in situations like these. When she learned that AGSF would pay two months of her rent, she cried on the phone.

Mrs. S then wrote this to AGSF: “Words cannot express how thankful we are to all of you. Thanks for caring and being there for us during a great need in our life.  Thanks for giving us home for tomorrow.  Our hearts are forever grateful to you. God bless all.”

AGSF will continue to support research organizations until there is a cure for ALS. Nearly $10,000 has gone directly to these organizations since 2008, including over $2300 raised during the Shut Down for ALS challenge on May 18th and the amazing ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that overtook the world this August.  

Once again, we thank all of you who have nurtured the seed and been with us as it has grown and taken root. 2014 saw another successful AGSF Awareness Month, a community cookbook created by friends of AGSF for friends of AGSF, the Shut Down for ALS event, and the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge movement.

AGSF and Monkees of Lake Norman partnered for their own Wine Bucket challenge – all of the fun, none of the ice water – and the end result was a fun night out and many new pairs of Frye boots on the feet of Davidson residents!

In 2014 we introduced the AGSF Teen Council – a group of dedicated local teenagers who know the meaning of service and are intent on fulfilling the AGSF mission.  Their 24-hour Walk Around The Clock event raised over $10,000 that will go directly toward local mothers needing assistance when health issues impact the family financially.  A huge shout out to Chair Lexi Powers, Chair-Elect Daryl Konstandt and the entire AGSF Teen Council for their time and energy and dedication to AGSF!

And here we are, entering year seven.  We’re planning on continuing the good work started six years ago.  We’re planning on ensuring sustainability for the next six years and beyond.  Your support ensures that Laura’s vision continues to be a reality, helping those who need it most. 

How can you help?  Send your tax deductible donation today!


A Giving Spirit Foundation Board of Trustees

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Shut Down for ALS

What would you do if you couldn't talk? Think about it.

On Sunday, May 18th, A Giving Spirit Foundation Board Members and supporters participated in The Shut Down.   Project A.L.S,  a leader in identifying and funding scientific research that will lead to effective treatment of ALS and, we all hope, a cure, created this campaign with the goal of showing support of those affected with ALS by taking a vow of silence.  All money donated to AGSF on May 18th will go toward our annual support of this amazing organization.

During the 24 period of time, participants stayed silent for 2 hours.  While we all had the luxury of knowing that we could get back to our normal lives at the end of the shift, simply concentrating on staying silent brought a new understanding to the disease that we may not have had before

AGSF Board Member Monica Galloway (and husband): "Awareness of this horrible disease."

AGSF Board Member Steve Bragg (and daughters): "A Giving Spirit Foundation."

AGSF Board Member Carly Schiano: "The Woodalls."

AGSF Board Member Erica Felthaus: "Laura Woodall."

AGSF Teen Council Member Abigail Woodall: "My Mom, Laura Woodall."

AGSF Teen Council member Amelia Woodall: "Not only my mother, but so I can know how difficult and frustrating not being able to speak is. Keep fighting. You're strong. "

AGSF Teen Council Co-Chair Lexi Powers: "ALS Awareness."

AGSF Board Chairman Lisa Bynum: "All those that do not get to choose to NOT shut down."

AGSF Teen Council Co-Chair Daryl Konstandt: "Awareness."

AGSF Board Member David Stewart: "Laura and AGSF."

AGSF Board Member Temple Day (and daugher): "Our friend Laura Woodall."

AGSF Board Member Lori Tate: "Laura Woodall."

AGSF Supporter Lesley Swartz: "ALS Awareness, Laura Woodall and those making a difference like A Giving Spirit Foundation."

AGSF Board Member Teri Brooks (and daughter): "ALS Awareness."

AGSF supporters: "ALS Awareness."

It's never too young to learn. How would you _____ if you couldn't talk? Teri Brooks' K/1 Multiage class at Davidson Elementary encourages us to "think about it."  Watch her students answer this question and begin to understand just a little bit how ALS impacts lives.