Dear Friends –
Today marks seven years since Richie's death. Over the years, I've written about how special he was to me, his family, and his many, many friends. I've recounted stories, shared pictures, and quoted memorable "Richie" sayings. But none of these memories make the sadness I feel today go away.
Despite the passage of time, I can always close my eyes and see Richie's smile and hear his laugh. It's these moments that make Richie feel present to me. My brother fought a long, arduous battle against Cystic Fibrosis, and although my family is so thankful for the gift of organ donation that prolonged his life for over ten years, we are at peace knowing he is no longer suffering.
What's amazing about my brother is that, seven years after his death, he is more popular than ever! With your support, we've been able to achieve amazing things with our foundation's work to continue to keep Richie's spirit alive.
Last year, we received a $10,000 grant from the Joyful Blessings Foundation, a Texas-based grant-giving foundation that one of Richie's friends sits on as a board member. Coupled with your donations, we were able to hire our first employee, Meghan Wood. In less than a year, Meghan has completely transformed our foundation. Thanks to her efforts, our fundraising and awareness events now stretch nationwide, from New York City to Dallas to St. Louis, and plans are underway to expand to Los Angeles next year. She spearheaded our newly remodeled website and has put us on track to double last year's fundraising goal.
Earlier this year, we awarded $3,500 through our College Scholarship Program to students who share character traits with Richie. This year's first place winner, Kinsey Morrison, was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer at age five and battled chemo throughout her childhood. She uses her story to help raise money for cancer research. In Kinsey's words, "My illness gave me a story worth telling and the opportunity to change people's lives simply by sharing it. There is no reason why I lived and my friends didn't, not really, but through service and speaking, I will make a reason out of it." I'm pleased to report Kinsey is having a great start to her freshman year at Stanford University. Kinsey is one of many young adults who has overcome a significant challenge and gone on to pursue careers that will help make the world a better place.
I'm also thrilled to let you know that we've expanded our Transplant Assistance Program. In December, we will award $3,500 to families with a child awaiting a transplant in three hospitals around the country: New York Presbyterian, St. Louis Children's, and Texas Children's. In Richie's memory, we are set to help others like him who are about to take the organ donation journey.
We're proud to be able to carry on Richie's legacy and positively impact the lives of people like Kinsey. As we remember Richie today, thank you for helping to keep his memory alive seven years after his death. To continue our important work, please consider making a tax deductible donation to Richie’s Spirit Foundation today. Together, we can keep Richie’s memory alive for years to come.
Passing the spirit,
Richie's Spirit Foundation