Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sip Happens: A Strike 3 Foundation event

I had the fantastic opportunity to volunteer for the Strike 3 Foundation's Sip Happens event this past Thursday. If you know me personally, you know that I have a borderline addiction to being a part of events. Any kind. I love them all. I started off in 2004 with the URI Student Entertainment Committee, and have loved being a part of event planning teams ever since! I even kept my hobby active in Korea- through the hefty language barrier. So when my friend Kelly mentioned that her boss  Katie O. (of Katie O. Wedding and Events) would be working with the foundation to help plan and execute the event- and they needed volunteers- I absolutely jumped at the chance.

This month has had me thinking a lot about cancer. It affects a lot of lives, and a couple days before the event, a favorite high school teacher of mine lost his son to the disease. Though Patrick was older when he passed, he spent many of his younger years fighting cancer. Treatment and prevention are the majority (public) focus of pediatric cancer research, the whys and hows of recurrence are equally as important to understand.

A little about Strike 3:
It was founded in 2008 by MLB lefty pitcher, Craig Breslow. Currently playing for the Boston Red Sox; he was drafted by the Brewers in 2002 and made his MLB debut with the Padres in 2005. Breslow studied Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University; an educational path that seems to have been formed by his family's personal encounter with pediatric cancer. His sister contracted thyroid cancer at a young age, and thankfully beat it to a pulp and is now a 20-year survivor.

It is clear that Breslow has turned his good-fortune and personal experience witnessing and feeling the impact of the disease, into a well-respected foundation. Strike 3 aims to raise awareness of and funding for pediatric cancer research.

Sip Happens is one of the events that the foundation puts on each year. Admittedly, it took me a little while to catch-on that it was a play on "shit happens"- but changed to sip because a main component of the event is a wine tasting! Ah, clevahh! There were loads of local vendors lining the rooms, offering tasty treats from wine to pizza to cupcakes. Running through the center was a silent auction with some pretty cool prizes, and later in the evening there was a live auction.

After I was relieved of my duties, I was able to sample a Breslow Brew, created especially for the event by Hopsters in Newton, MA. Anna's Taqueria was also in attendance offering samples of their Breslow Burrito. This special burrito will be offered at all 6 Anna's locations and $3 from each burrito (reg: $5.45, lg $6.25) will go towards pediatric cancer research. Though I'm not in a financial position to donate a large chunk to the foundation, I know I'll be eating a lot of burritos this month!

I was just a coat-check girl, but I had a great time interacting with the guests and being able to help out. As a Sox fan, every time a player that was escorted past me I momentarily lost all cognitive ability. To be clear, I'm not a crazy fan girl- I'll never approach a celebrity or a public figure unless they're in a situation where they expect to be approached (like a meet-and-greet or signing)-- because they're people and the deserve to have their personal-space respected. I guess I just have a momentary flash of "omgitssoandsothey'rerighttheresocloseandsotalentedomg" and then passes, and I'm zen again.

Something worth noting: thought the only player I had any level of interaction with was Craig Breslow (ok, and I did a brief "whoops we're in each others way" dance with Mike Napoli), each and every player gave off an air of approachability and class. Like I said, I was there to work, and didn't have occasion to approach any of them directly- but as someone who got to stand at the edge of the room and observe the evening- they all seemed like total class-acts. Being of such notoriety, one might expect that they could have displayed elitist attitudes or "bro-iness" and this was absolutely not the case.

I was situated near the area where the kids were hanging out (adorable... all of them!) and both the players and their wives dropped them off and picked them up. I need to shout-out to Justin Masterson who has freakin adorable kids- and was absolutely delightful to see him interact with them.

Other faces I recognized were Clay Buchholz, Xander Bogaerts, Joe Kelly, Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, Allen Craig, Brock Holt, Shane Victorino, someone I think might have been Daniel Nava, and Rick Porcello. I do have to say, they are all exponentially more handsome in person than they are on tv- especially Porcello and Napoli.

Overall, it appeared that everyone had a great time. Working for the event was delightful, and Katie O. was super nice- and as an event enthusiast, it was fun to watch her work. Observing from the side, people were laughing and fawning over the foods and I hope Strike 3 exceeded their goals.

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