Kourageous Kids Storybooks had their fundraiser at Chalet Bowl in Tacoma from 7 pm to 9 pm this past Saturday, April 13, 2013. It was $25 per person to attend the event, which included bowling, a pizza, salad, and soda dinner, as well as money going to a good cause.
Kourageous Kids Storybooks is an organization that creates tailor-made storybooks for children fighting terminal illness. The stories are created based on the likes, dislikes, favorites, and hopes of the children designed in a heroic way with an uplifting moral message. Matthew Drake, owner of Kourageous Kids Storybooks explained: “We then illustrate the book with pictures or drawings of the child and their family. The story is then printed and shipped to the family at no cost.
The organization has been around informally for a few years, but became official last year. “This fundraiser came about when my Rotary (Tacoma Sunset Rotary) was brainstorming what organization they were going to raise funds for and support. They decided that I would be honored by this event” explained Matthew.
We operate on donations, fundraising, and sponsorships. We strive to give our Kourageous Kids hope, and empower them to fight, by reminding them that they are heroes.” Matthew expressed his feelings about the fundraiser: “I think it turned out incredible. I was honored by the amount of people that came out to support Tacoma Sunset Rotary and my organization. Aside from the financial benefits, we were able to spread awareness of what we do and made several valuable contacts that will help get us in front of the right people.”
When asked the best thing about the event, Matthew replied, “The thing I enjoyed the most about the event was how personal and casual it was. It felt like family with so many people who believe in “service above self” in attendance. It made for a very comfortable and encouraging environment.
This was our second fundraiser for Kourageous Kids Storybooks. Our first was held a little further north. We were supported by the Zumba group in a fundraiser that they held a few months ago.”
Matthew explained where the funds for the event are going to, “The funds from this event will go toward our backlog. We received such a large influx of book submissions from a segment aired on King 5 News, that we got behind. We are currently raising the funds to print and ship the approximately 500 books that have been written and illustrated. The cost to print and ship a single book is only $50 because we were able to secure an amazing rate through our publisher.”
When asked if he plans to do this fundraiser again, Matthew replied, “Absolutely. We are already discussing plans for next year. I thought it was a great experience. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Renee Gardener, an attendee to the event, commented on what she thought of the event, “It was a great time had by all. It was a fun family activity and great venue for supporting Kourageous Kids and Sunset Rotary. It was great success, including a raffle for a $200 prize.”
When asked what she liked most about the event and why, Renee replied, “Being able to give back to two important service groups; fellowship and bowling.” Renee didn’t feel like the fundraiser could be improved either, “Chalet Bowl did a great job. The pizza and salad were delicious. The music was fun and not too loud. All people involved are caring, supportive, and loving people that wanted to make a difference.”
AJ Gordon, president of Tacoma Sunset Rotary, played the part of a super Master of Ceremonies. “It was great to have Matthew from Kourageous Kids. He brought book samples and viewed two great videos highlighting the great need for Kourageous Kids services. The videos were very professional, including the personalized books for terminally ill children,”
Matthew concluded, “Our largest challenge is and always will be the fragile nature of working with terminally ill children. We receive fairly regular emails indicating a child’s passing. While that does not stop us from finishing and sending the book to that family, it does deny us the opportunity to serve our primary purpose. Hope. We want to provide a service that improves the quality of life for a child that fights for their life, every day.
Worldwide, the number of children who will die from childhood cancer this year would nearly fill the stadium seats at Fenway Park (37,499), and five times that many will be diagnosed as well. Infant or teenager, rich or poor — childhood cancer can strike at any time. Help us strike back. Let’s show those children that they are heroes.”
For more information about Kourageous Kids Storybooks, please visit: Facebook.com/KourageousKidsStorybooks, Twitter: @KourageousKids, or email: Mortalwombat58@gmail.com.
By: Carly Calabrese, staff for Tacoma.com
Edited by Reba Winstead, editor for Tacoma.com