Thank You 2016 and Hello 2017 - You've Got Some Big Shoes to Fill!

As the year ends I am in amazement at all that 2016 brought us. Personally, our family has made it through the year relatively healthy. It’s the last day of the year and Kate woke up with a cough so our fingers are crossed that we won’t start 2017 out battling a bad infection.

As for Promise To Kate, we had our most stellar year so far. We will be distributing nearly $50,000 this year with over $41,000 going to research. We are so excited about this and are continually amazed at all who have swarmed to our cause. We continue to be humbled and are grateful for the support. Our little, grassroots organization is a true testament to the kindness and goodwill we all share as a society. On a personal note, you have helped this father and husband not feel like a bystander hoping and relying on the effort of others to fight this, but rather given me an outlet to join the fight.

 David and Elizabeth with Dr. Tetsuo Ashizawa at the Annual MDF Conference.

David and Elizabeth with Dr. Tetsuo Ashizawa at the Annual MDF Conference.

About a month ago, I was meeting with Karen, Director of Promise To Kate, discussing some of the more personal details behind why we do certain things. In our discussion it became clear that so many lives have been impacted either directly or indirectly by Kate and this fight we are engaged in. I can’t speak to everyone’s personal impact, but that night it was evident to me that this mission and Kate have impacted so many. I know that I love deeper, am more compassionate, see the world in a far more positive light than I ever have before, built new relationships and strengthened old ones. That conversation helped me to stop and really reflect on the impact and remember all the little stories we have told in the short six years we have been at this. While a lot of what we have faced has not been fun, and at times scary, Kate and the Promise To Kate Foundation have been positive in my life, my family’s life and I certainly think the community’s life.

 Kate with Wolfson Children's Hospital Children's Fashion Show sponsors Justin and Paige Terry.

Kate with Wolfson Children's Hospital Children's Fashion Show sponsors Justin and Paige Terry.

In 2017, we will be holding our first "field trip" to the University of Florida Center for NeuroGenetics to meet the researchers we support and see them in their environment. Part of this trip will be to recruit future collegians to consider medical research as an education path. The purpose will be to expose them to all the possibilities that exist in that field and the many different jobs that can impact research. This was born out of our goal of organizing a field trip for adults to see the work being done in the lab and meet the teams of researchers. The interest for young students to attend became a common theme and took hold and lines up very well with the type of recruiting the innovative researchers at UF are doing.  I know of some young people who have become interested in the medical research field that may not otherwise have been exposed to it if it were not for their involvement with Promise To Kate. This type of connection is as exciting as any fundraising goal that is met or exceeded. Of course, nothing is possible without the money made available to do it.  This will be a great introduction for students, more to follow in early 2017.

As most, if not all, of you know the best fundraising event in Jacksonville is right around the corner...or at least it feels that way to us. Please note that The Reception is February 25th this year, a week earlier than last year due to space availability. You can get tickets at www.promisetokate.org. We have added some new things to keep it fresh including the Chris Thomas Band, a large 8-piece band that is know for its high energy and ability to keep the party going. Of course, Dan Hicken will return as our emcee and our fabulous silent auction will be sure to please. This is a great event to encourage friends to join you and certainly is a great date night. We look forward to seeing you.

As we close 2016 and enter 2017 , I am optimistic we can take our little, grassroots organization to greater heights. I believe we can increase our impact and reach with a little good fortune and continued support from our amazing family, friends and advocates!

With eager anticipation, Happy New Year!

 Kate, Elizabeth and Charlie just a few weeks ago outside the University of Utah where Kate has participated in a Congenital DM research study for the past three years.

Kate, Elizabeth and Charlie just a few weeks ago outside the University of Utah where Kate has participated in a Congenital DM research study for the past three years.