Thursday, July 31, 2008

CHA Generosity and the Power of Giving

Wow... I am a little nervous. I was asked by Scrapbook Royalty's dear founder, Elena Etcheverry, to be a guest blogger!!! Please don't be disappointed since you don't know me, because I have plenty of exciting news to share!
First I should introduce myself. My name is Alane Davis and I am the Chair of the Duluth, MN affiliate of the Young Survival Coalition. "Huh?" you say. Well the Young Survival Coalition (YSC to it's friends) is the only international non-profit organization focused on the unique issues facing young women with breast cancer. (Okay, that's not the official mission statement, I shrunk it down so I didn't lose you.) But, you get the gist. I myself am a breast cancer survivor. I was diagnosed nine years ago at the age of 31. Like most of the women who are part of the YSC, I was mistakenly told that I was "too young for breast cancer". The YSC exists to educate the public that this is not true. The YSC also exists to provide various support, educational, outreach, and advocacy programs on behalf of young breast cancer survivors. Please, please, please check out the YSC at the website . Once you are there, pretty PLEASE sign up as a supporter. You will not be required to do anything. No money is exchanged. You will not be harassed with phone calls from annoying telemarketers. You will merely be adding your support to an organization that needs to throw its weight around to be noticed, and we can use the extra pounds!!!
Okay, enough of that stuff or Elena will seriously regret giving me the freedom to post on this blog! On to the good stuff: in order to raise money for our YSC affiliate, we are organizing a Crop for a Cure during October which is breast cancer awareness month. (For more info visit our Crop blog at . Scrapbook Royalty helped us put on our Crop last year and it was a huge success! This year Elena very generously sent me and three other volunteers to CHA, the Craft and Hobby Association Trade Show (for those of you who are not scrapaholics like myself and don't know the lingo). At CHA we represented Scrapbook Royalty and all of the fabulous work Elena does and we asked for donations for our Crop. We made a lot of awesome contacts, got very little sleep, and had the time of our lives. To a crafter, CHA is literally a wonderland of creative genius. All of the major manufacturers have booths that are like Broadway sets. They all have fabulous artwork made especially for CHA by their uber-creative design teams. The manufacturers are unveiling their newest products for all of the buyers so we definitely got the scoop on what's in store! Many of the manufacturers have make and takes and demonstrations going, and a lot of them are giving away free goodies! We tried our best not to get too greedy and stayed on task. (That's right, Elena, we only did a few make and takes, I promise!) The hardest part for us was seeing all of the new exciting stuff and not being able to buy it! If I didn't know the products would show up on our local store's shelves, being there would have been total torture!
Just a few of the highlights were: meeting Stacy Julian, meeting Ali Edwards, meeting the entire editorial board of Simple Scrapbooks magazine (!), and schmoozing with Tim Holtz. (Yes, that's right, I said, Tim Holtz!) We were absolutely stunned when after a loooong day of driving to our hotel we decided to go to the bar for a beer. Lo and behold, who was sitting at a table full of people having dinner? The grunge-board-distress ink-man himself! It was unbelievably cool!
We spoke to as many vendors as we could over the three days of the show. Many of them gave us donations to bring back with us, and many others gave us promises that they would send something afterwards. Here is a partial list of the companies that gave us products to bring home with us: 3M, Tim Holtz Ideaology, All My Memories, Alvin & Co., American Crafts, Around the Block, Basic Grey, Colorbok, Creative Options, Cropper Hopper, Die Cuts With A View, Doodlebug, Glue Dots, Glue Arts, Hambly, Imaginisce, Jenni Bowlin, Kaisercraft, Melissa Frances, Sculpey, Pentel of America, Queen & Co., Quick Quotes, Quik Kutz, Tattered Angels, Unity Stamp Co., and more! We were absolutely stunned by the generosity of all of these companies. By and large the people that we spoke with were kind, supportive, and eager to help. One company's representative went so far as to track us down in order to give us more donations! I still can't believe it!
After two and a half hours spent transporting the donations to the parking garage and loading them into an SUV and a minivan, we started the long trip home. It was a whirlwind experience full of tears, laughter, and wonderful connections. It was so very heartwarming to know that individuals throughout the country believe in what we are doing.
Thank you, Elena, for all of your hard work and for the opportunity to represent Scrapbook Royalty. It was a life altering experience: one that proves that one person can truly make a big difference.