Periwinkle Foundation

Inaugural New Camper Orientation at GattiTown

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To help our families get pumped up for “Sailing Away on the SS Periwinkle” at Camp this year, we hosted our first ever New Camper Orientation in the Houston area where parents could get their questions answered and any last minute worries addressed. We had the pleasure of meeting with 65 new campers and parents as well as a number of volunteers at the GattiTown located in Sugar Land.

A special thank you goes out to Club Periwinkle who not only helped with decorating and clean up, but also minded the children while their parents discussed their questions and concerns with a number of counselors and the medical team who will be at camp! In addition, we were lucky enough to hear from five amazing Periwinkle volunteers and supporters, Michelle Fritsch, Kathy McCarthy, Dr. ZoAnn Dreyer, Tim Porea and Reshae Walker. Thank you for your stories as they help our campers and parents get ready for an incredible week!

We would also like to thank our wonderful hosts at GattiTown! The kids were able to enjoy unlimited pizza and games with prizes and goodies to take home. Thank you GattiTown! We look forward to eating even more Gatti’s Pizza at Camp Periwinkle! Here’s hoping for an even bigger crowd next year!

Twelve Gatti’s Pizza and GattiTown locations teamed up to raise over $80,000 for Camp Periwinkle.  Over the last 6 years they have raise more than $300,000!  Thank you Gatti’s and GattiTown!  Click here to see the participating locations. 

Things are blooming at Periwinkle!

Thanks to you, we have had an amazing year of camps, programs and events benefiting children, teens and families challenged by cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.  This spring, we hosted The Periwinkle Downs Triple Crown Gala, a record setting fundraising evening, and filled another successful Family Camp and teen Camp YOLO to capacity.  In June, Camp Periwinkle Days, presented by BG Group, transformed Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers into a magical camp experience for children in the middle of treatment.  What a year it has been thus far! 

Now that summer has arrived, it’s full speed ahead with Camp Periwinkle scheduled August 3-9.  This year’s theme “Sail Away on the SS Periwinkle” is guaranteed to be a big splash with over 180 children attending camp!  Plans are also underway for our first ever fall Family Camp, and we are finalizing an expanded partnership agreement with the Arts In Medicine program at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers.  This expanded partnership will enable Periwinkle to serve more children and families living with cancer than ever before.  

I invite you to join us at one of Periwinkle’s upcoming programs or events.  We will kick-off Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (September) with the Opening Exhibit of Making A Mark, an exhibition of art and creative writing by children touched by cancer and blood disorders, on Sunday, September 7th.  Houston’s premier wine event, The Periwinkle Foundation’s Iron Sommelier, will take place Thursday, October 2nd, at the Houstonian Hotel.  We hope you can join us at one of these upcoming, exciting events!  A complete list of activities can be found on our website at www.perwinklefoundation.org.      

The magic of Periwinkle happens because of you, our volunteers, donors and supporters.  We truly thank you for the positive impact you make in the lives of so many children living with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.

We hope you have a fun and safe summer!

 

Doug Suggitt
Executive Director
The Periwinkle Foundation

Camp Periwinkle Days, Presented by BG Group

bgThe 4th Annual Camp Periwinkle Days, Presented by BG Group was an inspiration for parents and children alike, turning an ordinary day at the clinic into an action packed day at camp! Each year, The Periwinkle Foundation takes over 400 children and families to camp and hundreds are left on the waiting list. Thanks to the BG Group partnership, Periwinkle Camp Day was able to make a difference in the lives of so many deserving children who may not otherwise have the opportunity to experience a day at camp.

Approximately 30 BG Group employees helped facilitate nearly a dozen fun filled activities and transform the out-patient clinic into a buzzing circus! Activities included Wii & Xbox carnival games, Cup Stacking, Build A Lion, several Arts & Crafts projects, Bowling, a Photo Booth and a Clown Ball Toss! Children left with many great prizes, including a favorite stuffed lion. Their tummies were full with great treats like chicken nuggets, cotton candy, popcorn and ice cream! Most importantly, each child left with a smile.

In addition to more than 200 patients and family members whose days were brightened in the out-patient clinic, we served an additional 75 children by delivering goodie bags to the in-patient and Bone Marrow Transplant floors. These contacts are so valuable to patients on these floors as they often go months at a time in the hospital without the interaction of friends and siblings.

We could not be more grateful for our partnership with BG Group and for each of the volunteers who graciously donate their time to make this event so special to so many children!

 

Introducing the inaugural Periwinkle Kickball Classic!

For the past eight years, The Periwinkle Foundation  hosted a fall softball tournament raising more than $160,000 and bringing nearly 400 Texas Children’s Hospital employees together for fun, teamwork and a great cause. Thanks to our growing number of supporters, this year we’re able to take this event to a new level!

It’s time to hang up our bat and glove and trade it in for a big red rubber ball. The previous Periwinkle Softball Classic is switching gears to kickball! We will be opening the tournament to all Periwinkle supporters with more teams and more participants than ever before.

We hope that you’ll join the action and participate in one of these ways:

  • Start a team
  • Sponsor the event
  • Volunteer
  • Spread the word!

For more information, visit:

www.periwinklefoundation.org/kickball

Periwinkle Downs A Runaway Success!

The Periwinkle Downs Triple Crown Gala, Celebrating 30 Years was a sure bet for the 485 guest who attended the festive evening at the Royal Sonesta Hotel April 5, 2014.

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and Melinda & Matt Mogas were the proud Jockeys of the Periwinkle Triple Crown evening which raised more than $660,000 that will go to funding programs that change the lives of thousands of children and their families affected by cancer. Joanna and Brad Marks joined the race as Underwriter Chairs and Don Teague from Fox 26 served as the emcee.  Guests were dressed in their best Derby Chic attire; women wore dashing fascinators and hats to accompany stunning dresses, while men looked debonair in their suits & fedoras. Festivities for the evening included a cocktail reception, horse racing, wine pull, live and silent auction, games (including Heads or Tails which sent a lucky guest home with a Rolex watch valued at more than $12,000) and a raffle for a $5,000 IW Marks shopping spree.

The Periwinkle Foundation recognized its key supporters including Kathy McCarthy, the 2014 Gerson Award winner, along with Texas Children’s Hospital, The Hamill Foundation, and other long term survivors.

Volunteer Spotlight – The Terrace

As you enjoy your coffee and donuts this morning, we want to wrap up Volunteer Appreciation week with a couple fine groups of folks from The Terrace at West University and Clear Lake. Each and every Saturday morning they go to their neighborhood grocery store to pick up donuts and coffee which they take back to The Terrace and sell for 25 cents to residents – all proceeds benefitting The Periwinkle Foundation. Now, this may seem like a nominal amount of money to some, which is why we chose to share this story! Over the last 6 years alone, they have raised over $20,000 – one quarter at a time!

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AND! Their work doesn’t stop there! Residents from The Terrace at West University have spent countless hours volunteering in our offices – from assembling thank you gifts for our Gala attendees and helping us get ready for Camp to attending Camp Periwinkle Visitor’s Day – These folks are the heart and soul of Periwinkle! THANK YOU Terrace!

Volunteer Spotlight – Club Periwinkle

Today, we would like to thank a special group of High School students who have taken initiative to do great things for Periwinkle! Hannah Fritsch started Club Periwinkle at Clear Lake High School in September of 2012.  She invited any student at the school to join and today, Club Periwinkle has over 50 members!

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Club Periwinkle is a group of individuals who are interested in supporting The Periwinkle Foundation through volunteer efforts and fundraising.  The club has volunteered at events like the Making A Mark Opening Exhibit Reception, the Sickle Cell Education Day at Texas Children’s Cancer & Hematology Centers, Celebration if Life, Periwinkle Downs Triple Crown Gala and more!  Last summer they came out to Camp Periwinkle and taught the campers some country western moves to get them ready for the big dance! The club recently teamed up with BJ’s restaurant to raised over $200 for Periwinkle! They have even sold baked goods to all their friends at school to raise money and spread awareness of The Periwinkle Foundation! We love seeing High School students giving back. Help us say thank you to Hannah and Club Periwinkle for all the wonderful things they are doing for Periwinkle and their community!

Volunteer Spotlight – National Charity League

Today we recognize an incredible group of women – Moms and daughters in fact! For more than 50 years, National Charity League has thrived as one of the nation’s most distinctive and well-respected mother-daughter membership organizations. Today, NCL has over 180 Chapters with more than 50,000 actively engaged members – women and daughters in grades 7 through 12 – in 22 states.

Picture1The Periwinkle Foundation is the proud partner of not one, but TWO local chapters of NCL – West Houston, Helping Hands and Bayou City. Throughout the course of over 6 years, NCL has participated in nearly every Periwinkle event. They have worked at  the Making A Mark Opening Exhibit Reception, Cycle For Life and Celebration of Life. They have spent countless hours in our office helping with mailings. At each Periwinkle Family Camp, since its beginning in 2009, NCL has put together welcome baskets full of snacks, fun games and pretty much anything a family could need for a long weekend at camp. They have adopted the entire Camp Periwinkle for one dance every summer through Adopt A Cabin, providing fantastic costumes for all our campers. NCL truly defines what it means to be a service organization. Each time we have called for them, they have surpassed our every expectation. They work hard and love doing it!

Please help us thank the many, many Moms and Daughters from West Houston and Bayou City NCL, current and from years past, for their incredible service to The Periwinkle Foundation and the entire Houston Community!Picture2

Volunteer Spotlight – Jessica Dias

Jessica DiasToday our Volunteer Spotlight moves to recognize a very special member of our Periwinkle family, Jessica Dias. Jessica is part of our Long Term Survivor group and is one of our MOST dedicated volunteers. She has worked countless hours, doing everything from filing and t-shirt rolling to reading and hand addressing Postcards from the Road to mail to our Making A Mark artists! Jessica comes to our office sometimes several days a week always wearing a smile, ready to do whatever duty calls! Her quiet giggles light up our office and she makes every day brighter. She even brings us groceries – saving the day right before gala when we ran out of coffee creamer and discovered she had put fresh milk in the fridge! We could never thank Jessica enough for her great smile, incredible talents, beautiful heart and truly endless dedication to giving back. She is the definition of Periwinkle spirit and personifies our mission! Help us say THANK YOU and recognize Jessica for all her hard work!

Volunteer Spotlight – Kathy McCarthy

We couldn’t think of a better way to kick off our week of appreciation than by recognizing 2014 Gerson Award Recipient, Kathy McCarthy! If you attended our Periwinkle Downs, Triple Crown Gala Saturday night you learned first-hand about the impact Kathy has made on thousands of Periwinkle children and families over the last 20 years. Here is Kathy’s story:

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When Kathy McCarthy became a pediatric nurse at Texas Children’s Hospital’s oncology unit in 1981, she unknowingly opened a door to The Periwinkle Foundation that’s never been shut. On top of her work providing medical care to children suffering from cancer, she became an invaluable link between patients and families and Periwinkle.

For 20 years, Kathy has helped bring back the sense of childhood innocence to children who are all too familiar with the hospital setting. Her involvement with Periwinkle has ranged from identifying patients who would most benefit from Periwinkle camps, helping families through the application process, coordinating and preparing medical supplies, creative medical roadmaps to keep each child healthy at camp, to serving on the camp medical staff or Camp Director. To say that Kathy has been “all hands on-deck” with Periwinkle practically since its inception would be an understatement. Today, she’s lovingly referred to as the camp lady by patients and families at Texas Children’s Hospital and thought of as the one who makes camp possible, by both hospital and Periwinkle staff.

Kathy’s entire family has become Periwinkle advocates. Her husband Dave has wholly supported her involvement and always encouraged her to attend camp, even with young children of their own at home. When Kathy began attending Camp Periwinkle, their two children Russell and Anthony were just 6 and 9. Today, they’ve begun their own Periwinkle journeys as Cycle for Life participants and as a YOLO camp counselor.

Thank you, Kathy, for your generous spirit, unwavering dedication and endless support of The Periwinkle Foundation and the many, many children and families you have served!

To watch Kathy’s Gerson Award Recipient Video, Click Here

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