Our Fundraiser for the Bryan Stow Foundation? We’re Getting Closer!
Over the years this blog has been a strong supporter of Bryan Stow, the life-long San Francisco Giants fan and paramedic who was beaten outside Dodger Stadium on Opening Night 2011. The support initially took the form of a March 2012 blog post that introduced a fundraising idea I called “A Game for Bryan Stow,” whose goal was to assist with Bryan’s medical expenses. Shortly thereafter, that post was reproduced in other Giants-related blogs, putting me in touch with a number of Giants fans. In time, I published additional blog posts detailing other fundraising ideas. Then in July of 2013 I started Mets Fans in Support of Bryan Stow. I purchased a 3’ x 4’ placard and brought it to AT&T Park to have Mets Fans sign it. I quickly learned that everyone wanted to sign it, regardless of team affiliation, and the placard was quickly filled with good wishes for Bryan from one and all.
It was around this time, through the efforts of friends and the use of social media, that I was able to connect with the Stow family. Several months after this photo with Lou Seal was taken, I met with the Stows at their family home, where I gave the placard to Bryan. My visit with the Stows ended but my goal of trading for San Francisco Giants baseball cards with the intention of one day using them to raise funds to assist Bryan only intensified. Five thousand cards became ten thousand, then fifteen thousand and now twenty thousand, and more are coming in all the time.
The years unfolded and the news regarding Bryan took on a wonderful, healing tone. As he persisted with a rigorously extensive combination of physical, occupational and speech therapy, Bryan regained his ability to talk, read, write, eat, stand and take care of his basic needs. Then with help from his family and friends, the Bryan Stow Foundation was created. As it states on the Foundations website, Bryan “plans to reach out to as many schools and organizations as possible with his anti-bullying and stopping fan violence presentations using his own personal story to stop bullying behavior before it reaches adulthood. Bryan is now on a mission to teach kids everywhere how to live kinder lives as well as help empower a change in attitude for kids with bullying tendencies.”
For those of us who believe in Bryan and want to assist him, our mission has changed. Raising funds once ruled supreme, but while still important, it is no longer paramount. Our primary objective now is to inform the community about Bryan’s progress, his Foundation and his anti-bullying activities.
We’ve connected with the San Francisco Giants Department of Community Relations, with whom we will partner on our first fundraiser. We’re still working on a date and a venue. We hope to hold at least one fundraiser annually in the future. As this blog post is being published, we’ve sorted the 20,000 San Francisco Giants baseball cards on hand. We will use prize wheels as the principal way to get current Giants baseball cards into the hands of our target audience, children. For adults, we’re putting together 25-card packs of the best Giants players from the 1980’s, 1990’s and the 2,000’s. We have enough cards to make hundreds of packs. Packs highlighting players from the three Championship teams will also be available. Each pack will include an insert about the Bryan Stow Foundation. We also have a variety of memorabilia on hand, including postcards, pins, bobble heads and other unusual items. All of the funds raised will go to the Bryan Stow Foundation.
Our group includes fans of many teams, with the greatest concentration being Giants fans. We have Gamer Babes, San Francisco Giants Fans in Support of Bryan Stow, Bryan’s Brigade and a very active San Francisco Giants fan group, the miSFits, among our ranks. We have developed a nation-wide network of baseball card collectors who send their Giants baseball cards to us in trades heavily weighted in our favor. We recently picked up some new baseball cards to trade and will continue to work on that front, especially with the first series of the 2018 Topps baseball cards about to hit the stores in three weeks.
We’ve had several organizing events over the past several months. This photo was taken at our November 2017 event at the San Jose Giants Municipal Stadium. We plan on holding more, generally alternating between sites in San Francisco and San Jose. When we gather we sort cards, make up the packs and share ideas. We know that baseball cards are just one way to raise awareness and funds, and we are open to new fundraising ideas and to people who want to join us as we help Bryan implement his vision of a kinder world, where bullying is a thing of the past. If this appeals to you, and you want to join us, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment.