We wanted to present a recap of the RyFight Fundraiser from the perspective of the person that put the whole thing together Brenton Hard. Enjoy!
This is my post about a very special person which has become a great network of people in my life.
Ryan West is a good friend, a special friend not just to me but the people in his life. Hopefully on the night of February 26th, we were able to show the same devotion he has towards us back to him. Before I go into background on this event, there are two organizations that I need to thank for their generosity. First, is the Long Island City Lion’s Club, they have been huge supporters of this event from idea to execution. They even came up with the idea of have it be a Horse Races Night. Annually our Lion's Club holds a Night at the Races as a fundraiser for the Irish Center of NYC with great success and entertainment for the attendees. As a result, I have experienced this type of event, even if it was on a smaller scale, and saw the success that could be possible from it as a FUNdraiser for our friends.
When I first heard about Ryan's diagnosis in October and I was at Ultimate Frisbee Nationals my heart sank and I immediately thought of the community that Ryan has been able to build up with his incredible life and how we need to ensure his presence in in it. As a result, I began thinking of ways that I could be a part of something which provides him the support he needs and could alleviate some of the stressors from his life. Working with the Long Island City Lion’s Club it quickly become apparent that host a Horse Races Event could be a real opportunity for Ryan, and the Lion’s Club agreed. They had already met Ryan from when they consulted with him about creating an ongoing fundraising bingo night for the club and the Long Island City Community. By November, the gears were in motion- the Irish Center was booked, volunteers were recruited, and the date was set.
Between December and the night of the event, donations, participants, and overall goodwill of strangers snowballed. Day after day. Each raffle donation that came in seemed even greater than the previous, and we even received more than half of the bar liquor and had all bar supplies donated. As a result of the astounding prizes, we could not stop selling raffle tickets and we sold out of admission tickets with a week left to go and had an extensive wait list.
Ryan West is the kind of man who inspires an ungodly amount of generosity and love. Everyone wanted to help and be involved in some way.
As the night approached, I felt nervous anticipation because I wanted everyone to have fun, the night to run smoothly, and most of all, make sure the fundraising efforts were a success for Ryan. Turns out, I didn't need to worry at all. Everything pretty much ran without a hitch, our amazing volunteers saw to every need that emerged, participants were well fed and well hydrated ;) and we managed to gross over $16,000 by the end of the night! Cutting out our minimal costs, this was especially with the help of our cook Stephen Glauser and his assistant Gaelen Austin and our liquor supplier Tom Michaelson. The Ryan West F*** Cancer fund was able to raise a whopping $14,250!!
Looking back with the knowledge of how time consuming, labor intensive, and complicated organizing a 150 person off track betting and raffle night fundraiser is, I gladly would do it all over again without hesitation. Well for Ryan.