Anything for a Friend seeks to demonstrate the healing power that occurs when countless people who make up the network of our lives step forward and band together through acts of kindness towards a common goal of love and support.
The interconnection that brought about Anything for a Friend started in 1973, when Becky welcomed Brenda into this world as her little sister. They were just 13 months to the day apart and have been lifelong, inseparable friends, whose closeness and undying devotion have created part of the base for which Anything for a Friend functions.
The solidification of this base happened in 1992 when Denise and Becky met for the first time at Southern Utah University. This chance meeting formed an instantaneous friendship and bond which weathered the test of time turning it to gold.
On Friday January 29th, 2010 Becky received some unwelcome news. She was informed that at the age of only 37 with two young boys (ages 2 and 4), she had stage-three breast cancer. As the days rolled forward from the initial diagnosis, all three women were struck in different ways. Becky was in denial and trying to cope, while Brenda and Denise wanted to do something, anything, to help their sister and friend deal with the devastating blow, not realizing the similar devastating emotional blow they were taking.
Becky tried to manage the situation by hitting her knees in prayer and trying to figure out God’s will concernin g her and this situation. Brenda being a woman of action did not take this cancer thing lying down. She was immediately bringing treats, arranging flowers, and talking about a fundraiser. Denise was trying to think of ways to help without being too intrusive on what was viewed as a personal and intimate ‘family’ issue.
Aware of Becky’s friend Denise’s marketing and event planning experience, Brenda reached out to Denise to help with a community fundraiser. Denise instantly took hold of the idea and recalled a community fundraiser for her over 20 years ago which she now would have the opportunity to pass on to her friend.
Denise is a three-time Olympian in the sport of archery and brought home a bronze medal from the 1988 Olympics at the early age of 14. However, in 1987, while training for the 1988 Olympics, her family ran into financial hardship and did not believe they had the funds to get Denise to the needed events for her to qualify for the Olympic team. A neighbor and friend of the family, Ann Dawson, hosted a community fundraiser for Denise ultimately netting the needed funds which led her to qualify for the team.
Denise patterned Becky’s event after that which Ann had done for her many years earlier - a spaghetti dinner, but added to it a live and silent auction, a boutique, a kid’s corner and a bake sale. A special presentation for the evening was the commitment that Brenda and Denise both made to Becky, which was to shave their heads in support of her. They had told her that her physical transformation through this process really didn’t matter and that it would only more quickly reveal her true beauty within. This simple act brought forth the name of the event, which ultimately encompassed the feelings of all the people involved, we would do … Anything for a Friend.
Anything for a Friend really started to take on a life of its own and most of it in opposition to Becky’s pride and comfort zone. Organizer meetings and networks continued to be formed and it seemed like a small rock started tumbling down a hillside, picking up size and speed and when to the quieting of Becky’s opposition, all three women realized that this concept could be used to help and bless incalculable families.
Imagine if you will, someone, anyone in this situation being able to access the network of family, friends, and complete strangers moving forward to do whatever they can to bring relief and comfort and when enough “whatever you cans” are brought together, miracles can indeed happen. That became the brilliance of Anything for a Friend.
The event was successful beyond imagination as over 1,000 people attended and over $30,000 dollars was raised to help offset Becky’s mounting medical bills. It was evident as the event took shape that MANY, MANY people felt the same way that Brenda and Denise had initially felt. They simply wanted to show Becky that they loved and supported her. The event became a perfect way to physically demonstrate these feelings of support, bringing with it comfort not only to the recipient, but to each attendee as well.
Becky, Denise and Brenda recognize that their life experiences, natural talent, training, and challenges came together in a united effort for what they believe to be a greater cause. Our society is quick to know how to help nations or communities in trouble all over the world, but are we as trained to help our family member, friend or neighbor in need? They believe we are not, and feel that Anything for a Friend can bring much needed awareness and support to how much good can be done through community fundraisers such as an Anything for a Friend event.