Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Poker Tournament

To blogging friends....I am going to do a quick start to the post, but again we have a guest poster....the one, the only, Ally's Daddy. He went to a great fundraiser last night and would like to share the details. Ally had another fairly good day today. She started the day with some belly pain and missed the bus because of some crying. I ended up taking her to school though and she did fine. She seems happy and is eating more. The scale tonight was up maybe a little. Thanks to everyone who tries to stuff calories into her (Suzy, Julie).

Poor Evan had his doctor's appointment with four shots today. He was not happy, but when it was all over he said it went "better" than he thought. We have a super sweet nurse friend there named Delilah and everyone at Primed seems to care about our family so much. Because of a fear of a flu shot shortage, which would not be good for my family this year, I had to turn around and take Carly in for her flu shot. I am really tired of all my kids getting poked (plus Jerad and I on Monday) but praying that everyone stays fairly well this fall and winter when it will be crucial to keep the germs away from Ally!

One quick note...we received a package from Warsaw, Poland yesterday! It had all kinds of crazy postage, etc on the package. I did not know who it was from, but it was a cute authentic Polish hat for our girl Ally. It turns out my friend Bonnie (we worked together at P&G) had another one of her P&G colleagues from Poland find the hat for Ally. Here she is trying on her very unique hat, complete with a feather in it! Thanks Bonnie!

Dad's turn now...I just wanted to say a little about a great Texas Hold 'Em Poker fundraiser that we had last night for Ally & the Walk. I'm not sure who's original idea it was, but Larry Booher Jr. and Tom Suttmiller took it upon themselves to completely organize and run what I thought was a fantastic tournament all in the name of our sweet Ally. I don't think either have ever organized anything like this, but you wouldn't have known it from the player's perspective. Everything went off without a hitch and about 50 of us took to it at 7:00 p.m. with the last man, or should I say woman, standing at 10:30 p.m. And the winner is...(drumroll)...Kim Westendorf, our plumber Ken Westendorf's daughter. Yes, that's right. 49 guys and 1 woman and she won the tournament! I told Kim that if she had the guts to play poker with 49 guys and be the only woman, then she was too good for us. She of course had to prove me right.

I'll get more to the poker, but the most touching part of the evening was that through a few emails and word of mouth, 50 people paid a pretty hefty $100 to play and $50 to re-buy knowing that 80% of all the proceeds were going to charity. We had friends, neighbors, co-workers, many of our subcontractors, Walnut Grove friends, and relatives of friends/co-workers/subs, and many of these folks don't know Ally directly but wanted to come out and show their support and it was VERY much appreciated. And the 80% became 100% because ALL of the winners donated back their winnings. I really was not expecting that, especially since we were already taking 80%, and it just shows how giving people are and how much they care about Ally and fighting Leukemia.

And there's more, Larry's Mom Pam and two of her sisters (Chic & Leah) cooked a SMORGASBORD of food for us. 50 people and there were still plenty of leftovers, and they stayed for most of the evening to help serve. Not only did it allow us to save money on having something prepared, but they donated the food as well so even more of our proceeds could go towards the Walk. And then there's our good friend Frank Detmer who doesn't play cards so he PAID the $100 just so he could watch and tend bar! Every time Janel and I turn around, people are giving beyond what we could ever have expected. I wanted to say a few words to thank everyone, but sometimes it's a little overwhelming and gets me too emotional so I let Tom take care of it. But for those who participated in any way last night, THANK YOU!

Now to the poker. I absolutely loved the tournament style. As I said before, it was very organized. The betting increased every 20 minutes (on the nose thanks to Tom's egg timer!), and it got more intense and took more and more strategizing as the night went on. There were several "Degree All-In Moments" (especially at my table, probably not a coincidence) so of course Mr. Competitive (me) loved it. But the funny part was that with 50 "guys" (hey, she won the darn thing so she's one of the guys now) competing to win, I never heard one complaint. I was picturing lots of questions or some confusion, but nothing. I think everyone genuinely had a great time and when it was over had nothing but kudos for the hosts. In fact, 6 of us were so fired up we had to play more and ended up going until about 1:00 a.m.! Suffice it to say Tom & Larry did a great job and I sure hope this becomes an annual event.

And now for the big news. We raised...drumroll again...$6,440 !!! Even as I'm typing it, I can't believe we raised that much money. We are now over $20,000, more than twice our goal, and we still have some events to go! Thanks again to all those who worked so hard for this event, but also to all those who played and not only donated their money but also took an evening out of their busy schedule to support our daughter.


  1. Gary and my thoughts and prayers are with you along with out kids!! We are excited for the Junction City fundraiser. We will have to dig deep for the 80's clothes! Your families faith and courage are something for everyone too take to heart.

  2. Janel, It is my pleasure to help with Evan..glad it was "bette" than he thought. He was very brave!! Everyone at Primed loves your family and thinks about all of you daily. We will see you next Thursday. Delilah

  3. WOW!!!! Congratulations on the tournament and HUGE fund raising effort. Nice work by Larry and Tom....glad everyone is getting their flu shots. No fun, but necessary. Hoping Ally continues to wear that smile, and feel better.

  4. THAT IS AMAZING!!! What a wonderful idea! That is a huge sum of money - I just said that you guys would probably reach $15,000 - that is just wonderful!
    I am glad that Ally is back to school and hopefully her belly pain is subsiding. Take care! Sheri Cobler

  5. Oh my gosh, what a huge success for the tournament. I don't know about Larry's skills but I do know that Tom loves that kind of stuff, great job guys!!!!!!!!!! Glad Ally is back in school and the other kids got their flu shots, that makes less worry for you and Jared. Will be thinking of you during the walk. Wished I lived closer, lots of prayers and hugs to all of you.

  6. LOVE the hat! She looks so cute in it! What wonderful friends you all have - what a blessing! People just love you all so much - I know cause I'm one of them! So glad the tournament was such a success and that so many participated. Again - what a blessing. Will be praying that Ally's belly pain is minimal and that she can go to school every day! I'm going to bring her some chocolate chip peanut butter cookies soon. LOVE YOU ALL!