Friday, December 4, 2015

Turkey Trot and Thanksgiving Weekend

WOW! Five years ago a few good people got together and organized a 5K Turkey Trot for a local charity in Phoenix area called Brain Food. The purpose was to raise money to feed needy children in the Phoenix area who would not otherwise have lunch.

Although Shawni and her husband have been involved with this cause since the first, three years ago they got fully engaged as they saw the need for money for a registry and research for BBS, the rare syndrome that their youngest Lucy has. There was no way for parents with children affected with this syndrome to be connected, to compare issues or often to even to know that the reason their children who would, among other things, almost inevitably lose their sight by the time they are teenagers.

Last year the Pothers were in China and so they weren’t able to fully be there,although Dave flew home to help when he could. But this year, they came out like gangbusters! Dave had huge banners and start and finish blow-ups sent from China. His sister-in-law came up with a cute logo with red glasses to draw attention to the fact that blindness was the biggest issue of this syndrome which so many families and professionals are dedicated to finding a way to stop.


So they ordered a lot of cute red glasses for props and the Pothier Family turned out in droves to be a part of their enormous team to fight blindness for the love of Lucy. We had quite a grand time too! All we had to do was to show up, but I must admit that wasn’t entirely easy. Our flight on Allegiant out of Ogden, Utah, due to leave at 4:40, ended up with a snow storm so the plane couldn’t land and a plethora of crazy events that got is into the Mesa Airport at 2:30 a.m. We tumbled into bed at 3 a.m. and got up at 6:30 a.m. to help with the race.


David’s parents have raised nine remarkable kids who are “all in” on this project! What a family! Bob and Marva are terrific!


The sister-on-law on the right created the cute logo:


David’s brother created the giant “I Am Thankful For…” board that everyone had such a great time filling up!


These are mostly all Pothier relatives who showed up to help! Can you believe it?


Loved this one of Lucy and her teeny cousin!


Here’s the Thankful Board which Lucy made several contributions to:


Love her contribution here on the upper right. I couldn’t agree more!


Grandfather had quite a lot of fun himself!


It ended up like this:


The actual race brought tears to my eyes as I saw the absolute sea of people who had come to, not only run off a few calories before the big meal, but who really wanted to help. The first year they gathered between 100 and 200 people This year 2300 people showed up!



There was a one mile fun run at 8:30 and then the 5K at 9 o’clock! It was AWESOME!

The six guys who organized this put in literally hundreds of hours to pull this thing off! They gathered sponsors, ,created and hung banners until midnight the night before, arranged for police to watch over the festivities and placed hundreds of orange cones to mark the route, rented port-a-potties, had banners made, organized hundreds of volunteers to make this happen, even brought two huge “snow making machines” to add a few festive flakes to the Arizona desert and lots of other things that we’ll never know!


Shawni made big posters of BBS kids that were placed along the route to remind runners of the kids they were helping.




David and his brothers have bought into a skateboard and fun athletic equipment business. A booth was all set up to show off their wares.


It was a morning to remember!



How Shawni managed to pull this off this AND prepare her home for 51 people (most of Dave’s siblings and his parents live in the area) for Thanksgiving Dinner is beyond me!  Fortunately all those great Pothiers brought the food which was enormous help, but just getting the house and place settings and centerpieces ready is a big project!

But somehow she did it with the help of cute Claire and other kids as they came in and out. I’m stealing pictures from Shawni’s blog here because I was so buy talking that I neglected to take even one picture!




Eighteen adults sat here:


….which means that there were 33 kids! All beautifully cared for with a place for each!  There were Nineteen teenagers and a wonderful assortment of elementary kids and little kids. So fun!




It was a delight to see Shawni and David’s dear neighbors from China who moved to Gilbert shortly after the Pothiers got home! They are such terrific people!


The numbers swelled to 82 for pie after we were joined by Dave’s mom Marva’s extended family! The more the merrier!


I don’t know how Shawni was still standing after that wild and wonderful day, but somehow she managed! What a grand memory!

The next day we were thrilled to be joined by our beloved Eldar and his darling wife Courtney, their cute kids and Eldar’s wonderful mother who has just immigrated from Ukraine and is living with them near the Pothier’s house.

Jonah baptized Eldar whom he met while on his mission in England. Eldar came to live with us for a while, attended BYU, got a Master’s in accounting and a PHD at Cornell. We had known his mother Valentina when she came for the wedding and has visited many times since.

We adore Eldar who is not only brilliant but is such a great son, Father and husband!


Eldar and Josh were roommates at BYU for a while and love each other like brothers:!


Eldar has become such a good tennis player so these four spent some time on the courts while Courtney, Valentina and I caught up



Valentine is a valiant woman who was the Dean of the Economics Department at a University in Ukraine. It was so difficult for her to leave her home where she was so comfortable with friends and colleagues but it just became too dangerous for her to stay any longer. She is forging forward, taking English classes four days a week and integrating in the ward beautifully. We laughed together about her transitioning from being a “big cheese” to “a little mouse.” She is simply amazing!

We couldn’t be more thankful!


Julie said...

Well done to all involved.

I'm curious, why do you call your families by their surnames, rather than Shawni & family or Shawni's family etc?

Is this something that most people do in the US?

Nicolas Davis said...

Kudos to all the organizers of this event! This year, I hope that there will be more events that will help different children charities in your area. God bless us all! ♥