about yesterday…

Before anything else, I’ll say this: Beat Nb has the most incredible community of supporters. On behalf of all the kids with neuroblastoma and other cancers who benefit from what we do, thank you for making yesterday so fun and such a thrilling success.

Yesterday was the 4th annual Give Day Tampa Bay, a 24 hour period of giving for all nonprofits with Tampa operations. We won big, because of your help. Check out our Twitter Moment for some of the highlights.

We started the day off right – in I-275 traffic in a Uhaul box truck, headed downtown. We’d had a fun idea, which Lightning star Ryan Callahan and his wife Kyla made possible through the Ryan Callahan Foundation. We did a photoshoot with Ryan and Anthony (one of the local Tampa kids fighting neuroblastoma cancer, the type we focus on beating), and printed it on 6ft x 8ft metal sheets. We then covered it in 500 magnets. Anyone who made a donation of $25 or more through our Give Day page got to take a magnet down. When they were all gone, the image above was visible.

Huge thanks to Ryan and Kyla – that idea won us a $5,000 “Out of the Box” award around lunchtime for most creative Give Day fundraiser.

And then we set our sights on a new goal for the day. USAmeriBank sponsored a $7,500 prize for the large nonprofit with the most individual donors for the day, and AARP sponsored a $2,500 prize for the nonprofit in the Health and Human Services category with the most individual donors. We could win both – but we needed to get MANY donors to give (even if i was just $5, the minimum). We’d been on Facebook Live from the park all day, and had a good amount of supporters helping, but we were still wayyyy behind the lead – nearly 400 donors behind.

It was time to get straight telethon! We have some great friends, who also started activating their networks. Our neuroblastoma families are a tight community, and were sharing all day and encouraging friends and supporters to donate. We owe many thanks to them. It is powerful seeing all of us families coming together to beat neuroblastoma.

Big thanks to my Connect Florida class, who showed up big on social and with donations. And thank you to a very special guest who stopped by Lykes Park and supported – Florida’s very own Lt Governor, Carlos Lopez-Cantera!

Some of our celebrity friends helped as well. Ray Toro, lead guitarist of My Chemical Romance, activated his Twitter followers. Our friend Jayde Donovan, morning radio DJ in NYC (formerly of Tampa’s 101.5) gave us shoutouts all day. Actress Melissa Archer (One Life to Live, among others) did too. And we had huge support from Nicole Curtis, star of HGTV’s popular show Rehab Addict.

Nicole has fallen in love with a little girl battling neuroblastoma in Detroit, Tessa. Tessa’s dad works with Nicole, who’s become a strong advocate for our kids with cancer. She sent emails, tweets, messages… this woman was on it. THANK YOU, Nicole. This is heart for her, and we are proud of her passion. She is the real deal.

In the evening, around 645pm we went on TV with WEDU (Give Day’s media partner) with Rea, who is on one of our clinical trials. Her sisters were there too, plus mom Rochelle and dad Derek.

From the 8-9pm hour, we won the TECO power hour for most donations during that time. Thanks TECO, and all of you who donated!

My friendly apology to anyone whose cell phone number I have (ha!) – I texted and Facebook messaged so many people yesterday that for an hour or more I was “rate limited” on both platforms, and had to switch devices. I assure you – my messages were individually sent to each of you – and it worked! So thanks for putting up with me. 🙂

This Beat Nb community texted our friends, messaged and emailed everyone we knew, and by the 11pm hour we had taken the lead, only to have it pulled away from us 10 minutes later. With less than half an hour left, we held the lead. We were getting donations coming in every couple seconds – THANK YOU! When midnight hit, we were still in the lead, and could hardly believe it.

Thank you to each and every person who made yesterday happen. Support is still rolling in, and our total is over $37,765 at the moment. From a day in the park and an incredible network of supporters.

My wife Robyn did a Facebook Live at the end, where we had an army of dozens working their phones as well. I’m a musician, and many people kept saying “if we win, you have to sing a song!” In 2010, when we lost Ezra to neuroblastoma, we also lost one of our twins who were born that year. At each of their funerals, I sang the same song – The Valley Song, by Jars of Clay. I sang that last night on Facebook Live. The reason we are doing all of this – beating neuroblastoma, and other kids’ cancer – is so no more songs need to be sung at kids’ funerals. So moms and dads don’t need to know what it feels like to lose a child. And so kids never have to learn to walk in a hospital, hooked up to a chemo pole.

Thank you for being a part of that.

Kyle Matthews
Executive Director, Beat Nb


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