Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thankful Thursday - Standing in the Gap Friends

Phil Brabbs, founder of has come up with a great idea to remind us all to be thankful. He states: "Amidst the cancer journey I am learning that there is an opportunity for a thankful heart to grow." He has instituted 'Thankful Thursdays'. Linda and I think this is a great idea, so every Thursday we will highlight someone or something that we are thankful for.

Today we want to let everyone know how thankful we are for the wonderful friends that organized or participated in the Standing in the Gap Event for us.

When I was diagnosed in January of this year with Multiple Myeloma, I had also just been terminated from my job. I did a quick 'back of the envelope' calculation and saw $12,000+ in medical out of pocket expenses in 2010 and approximately $20,000+ in 2011. Ongoing Cobra expenses, deductibles, prescriptions, special equipment and food, etc. combined to create a significant burden. With that kind of cash need, we didn't see any way we could keep our home. Plans were made to move in with Linda's mom, garage sales were held, car and trailer sales took place, and we liquidated the tools associated with my former remodeling business.

Enter the Stand in the Gap team. Originally an idea birthed by our good friends Patti O'Reilly and Dee Omer, it soon grew to become a huge fund raising event sponsored by our current church Stony Hill Baptist, and our former church Bay Leaf Baptist. Friends gathered, a date was set, plans were put into place, committees were formed, responsibilities were assigned, and people got to work. Longtime friend Shelley Graves jumped onboard organizing the advertising, live and silent auctions, the raffle, and ticket sales. Corey Perrott got a website up and running and many Stony Hillers got to work on the food and bake sale.

The event was held at Stony Hill Baptist Church on July 10th of this year.

It started off with a delicious NC Bar-B-Que dinner complete with homemade desserts prepared by a dedicated Stony Hill team and many volunteers...

The line was out the door....they served 300 meals and sold out in about 30 minutes!

The event included a live auction, a silent auction, and raffles for a beautiful diamond ring, a new 46" Sony Bravia HDTV, a flip-video camcorder and other items, all orchestrated by the friends from Bay Leaf...

There was even live entertainment provided by the Wakefield Five...

The love and support received was tremendous, with over 450 people in attendance...

Linda and I got the chance to say thank you to those that were there...

but would rather have shaken every hand, hugged every neck and said face to face "we can't thank you enough!!!"

The event was a tremendous success. Goals the committee originally set were more than doubled and enough funds were raised to offset medical expenses for the next few years. With that financial assistance, plus the approval of my disability and an adjustment to my retirement plan, we are able to remain in our home.

We just cant say 'thank you' enough. We are especially grateful for our friends from Stony Hill and Bay Leaf Baptist churches that put this event together. We are also thankful for the many friends and businesses who donated items for the auctions, and for all those who came from near and far be a part of this very special evening. We do not feel worthy of such an outpouring, and our hearts will forever overflow with gratitude.


  1. Loved seeing all the pictures from the event, how much fun it was. An unbelievable outpouring of love from friends and family for sure!!

  2. That was such a special day! You sure are loved Mr. Ernie... by everyone!!

  3. Yes it really was an incredible event and outpouring of love! A great way to start Thankful Thursdays:)

  4. Wow what a great story and outpouring of love. You are blessed! Thanks for sharing, Kris fellow mm survivor

  5. Gosh that's just so wonderful I nearly teared up! It must have been a real weight off your shoulders! :D