‘Tis the season of giving and the season of gratitude. Everyone who attended the 9th Annual Peak Potential dinner and auction on November 17 shared that spirit and, I hope you agree, that coming together for a wonderful cause is something to be extraordinarily grateful for this season.
This was Guide Dogs for the Blind’s first time working with 2020 Vision Quest and I was floored by the turnout of support for Randy’s work. Every one of you has been touched by Randy in some way, whether through his guide dogs, speaking, running, or adventures hiking around the world. I was inspired by how many of you were there to participate in the work we do every day at Guide Dogs for the Blind, to empower people to live the lives they want to live, without us even asking for your help.
When I walked into the Marriott Courtyard, I wasn’t feeling very festive or grateful. I entered the reception area and saw everyone there with huge smiles on their faces, drinking, laughing, eating, clearly enjoying a wonderful evening surrounded by loved ones. The celebratory atmosphere helped me realize that we can all get through tough times with just a little support. Sometimes we have to ask for it, sometimes we don’t need to. I didn’t need to ask for anything Saturday night. You all gave it, unknowingly, freely, and with a friendly smile to the newcomer in the room.
Something I didn’t share with anyone I met at the event, but I’m moved to share with you now, is that I got news that morning of the event that my dear stepsister is dying from ovarian cancer. There is nothing more they can do for her. She will be leaving the hospital in Boston this week and returning home for hospice. Part of my trip from California to attend this event included some personal time to visit family. So while very sad, I am so grateful to you all, both personally and professionally, for the Peak Potential event.
What an inspiration to see a packed room full of friendly faces, welcoming me to the club! My spirits were lifted as I made my way around, delighted to see a group of people so engaged and enthused. So many distinctive auction items to choose from! After bidding on a few items (that I ultimately didn’t win) I waited in line to see the man of the hour. Little Autumn and Randy were holding court, having professional photos taken with guests. It was a wonderful way to get a moment with Randy, to thank him for his support, and to get a nice keepsake from the event. Autumn was resting behind her little fence, so she didn’t make it into our photo, but it was a nice touch to be able to meet Randy and others in line waiting to say hello and show their support. I was touched by the outpouring of genuine affection and respect for Randy’s work tirelessly inspiring, educating, and raising money for worthy nonprofits.
Randy’s inspiring words encouraged us all to learn, grow, and climb towards something better. You inspired me, Randy, to remember the importance of showing up and being accountable, even when it may not feel great personally. I knew you, the team, and Guide Dogs for the Blind were relying on me. You made my world a little brighter and every one of us made the world a much better place for people who are blind and visually impaired on Saturday night.
Every three minutes, a person in this country experiences vision loss. Every day, hope, in the form of a guide dog puppy, is born at Guide Dogs for the Blind. Since 1942, we have been serving those who are blind or visually impaired with exceptional guide dogs, and have grown to be the largest guide dog school in North America. Every step of the way, we’ve relied on people just like those of you at the Peak Potential dinner to help sustain us.
As a nonprofit that receives no government funding, Guide Dogs for the Blind relies solely on private donations from individuals, companies, and organizations like 2020 Vision Quest. We truly appreciate your support of our life-changing mission. We look forward to graduating over 300 amazing guide dog teams this year, thanks to your support!
On behalf of Guide Dogs for the Blind’s clients, staff, volunteers, and donors, I want to thank Randy, Tracy, and the 2020 Vision Quest team for supporting Guide Dogs for the Blind this year. It was an honor to attend this year’s 9th Annual Peak Potential dinner and auction. I can’t wait to find some time over the next couple weeks to relax and dig into See You at the Summit and learn more about Randy’s and Tracy’s journey. I look forward to reflecting on this amazing evening again and feel the gratitude of this season.
Thank you, Randy, Tracy, and every one of YOU in the 2020 Vision Quest world for helping to inspire, educate, and challenge us to surpass our goals, whatever obstacles we may be encountering. Cheers to you all for a happy and healthy holiday season and to a prosperous 2019!
Corporate Giving Manager, Guide Dogs for the Blind