Survivors in the Vineyard has been in the making for more than 3 years. As a three time breast cancer survivor, I am a true supporter! In the last 10 years I baked more than 50 custom cakes, donated more than $10,000, and at least 1000 hours of community service to the research for the cure, and the support to other women and men who have been affected by this disease.
When I started Chocolates by Delanda in February 2015 I knew I wanted to host an event dedicated to the cause. I knew it had to be fun and not just another charity event. Enter Ebony Ssali of Ssali Media Group. Ebony is the creator of my fabulose logo and also a friend. During a meeting at her office in early March she asked how will I give back? How will my company contribute to the community? And I told her . . . I want to host a funderaiser each year for breast cancer, but I don't want to do the traditional dinner and speaker, I want it to be fun. If you could have been in the room when her face lite-up (priceless)! She said what about a winery? I was excited! I love wine and what better event than wine and chocolate pairing. Nope not even where she was going. You see Ebony was friends with a winery owner in Cascade, WI, a short 35 minute drive north. OMG I love that, but do you think he would be intrested in this type of event? She made the call, we went to the winery, and the event was born.
Let me tell you planning a charity event in 6 months is not for the faint at heart, and it is defiantly not for someone who has never done fundraising before. But I had the passion for the cause and determination to make it happen (so I thought).
My best friend Wanda Woods came on board and helped with sponsor letters and advised who to send them to; Chauntel McKenzie (CEO and Founder of The PowHER Network) came on board to promote, host and serve as my Honorary Chairwoman; Dr. Felicia Robertson, MD was set to be my quest speaker; and Cigarette Break was going to preform live for guest during dinner. All is great right??? Not a chance!
I ran into what seemed to be problem after problem after problem! But God . . . yes I said God just kept bring people into my life to help make things happen. Lord thank you for your hand in the work! Whenever I got discouraged, someone called to encourage me, whenever I wanted to throw in the towel someone told me no.
In the end the event was just beautiful! Everyone had an amazing time, and posted wonderful comments online about the event. We were even contacted by sponsors after the event who wanted to seen donations to support, and also asked to be included in next years event. I learned a lot of lessons from the planning of this event, and next year I will take those lessons and put them to work, or should I say this year. That's right this year. We have already started planning for next years event. Sponsor letters are set to go out in the mail by no later than 10/15/17. The event space, band, and transportation have already been secured for 2018. So save the date 8.8.18! Next year we are "Survivors in the Vineyard: A Breast Cancer Luncheon."
Also if you would like to see pictures of this years event, please click on Foundation of Giving.
From left to right: Dr. Felicia Robertson, MD, Cynthia Hooker (Founder & CEO of Cynthia's Breast Cancer Giving Circle Inc, Delanda Jones, Phyllis Holder (Founder & CEO of Sisters 4 Cure Inc) at Survivors in the Vineyard: A Breast Cancer Benefit Dinner at SoLu Estates Winery & Meadery in Cascade, WI on September 9, 2017. Photo credit Xcentric Media Group